China hits record; spends over half of global PV investment

By Editor


With over $86.5 billion investment, China has accounted for over half of the worldwide photovoltaic (PV) spending, says a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The extraordinary boom in PV installations made 2017 a record year for China’s investment in clean energy. This over-shadowed changes elsewhere, including jumps in investment in Australia and Mexico, and declines in Japan, the U.K. and Germany, BNEF report said.

Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF, commented, “The 2017 total is all the more remarkable when you consider that capital costs for the leading technology – solar – continue to fall sharply. Typical utility-scale PV systems were about 25 percent cheaper per megawatt last year than they were two years earlier.”

Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific for BNEF, said, “China installed about 20GW more solar capacity in 2017 than we forecast. This happened for two main reasons: first, despite a growing subsidy burden and worsening power curtailment, China’s regulators, under pressure from the industry, were slow to curb build of utility-scale projects outside allocated government quotas. Developers of these projects are assuming they will be allocated subsidy in future years.

“Second, the cost of solar continues to fall in China, and more projects are being deployed on rooftops, in industrial parks or at other distributed locales. These systems are not limited by the government quota. Large energy consumers in China are now installing solar panels to meet their own demand, with a minimal premium subsidy.”

Overall, Chinese investment in all the clean energy technologies was $132.6 billion, up 24 percent setting a new record. The next biggest investing country was the U.S., at $56.9 billion, up 1 percent on 2016 despite the less friendly tone towards renewables adopted by the Trump administration.

Globally, solar investment amounted to $160.8 billion in 2017, up 18 percent on the previous year, whereas total investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies reached $333.5 billion last year, up 3 percent from a revised $324.6 billion in 2016, according to BNEF.

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