China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80 percent.
About 54 gigawatts will be put in place this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said Monday, raising a forecast of more than 30 gigawatts made in July. That amount of additional capacity would likely surpass all the solar energy generated in Japan in 2017.
“The amount of rooftop solar plants and projects aimed at easing poverty were more than expected and developers rushed to build some ground-mounted solar projects before they have been allocated subsidies,” said Yvonne Liu, a BNEF analyst in Beijing.
The growth of the market has benefited top panel producers, including JinkoSolar Holding Co. and Trina Solar Ltd. China installed 43 gigawatts of solar power in the first nine months of 2017, already above the 34.5 gigawatts for all of last year.
China has been the world’s biggest solar market since 2013. It surpassed Germany as the country with the most installed photovoltaic power capacity two years ago.
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CCB International Securities Ltd. raised its forecast for China’s solar power capacity to 55 gigawatts from 40 gigawatts for 2018, according to a Nov. 17 note.
“We have a bright outlook for the entire supply chain of China’s solar sector as new policies are introduced to liberalize direct power sales for distributed power generation and based on our assumption of tariff hikes and a higher renewable surcharge in 2018,” CCB said.
Half of all additions to China’s electricity generating capacity since 2013 have been renewables or nuclear, according to the International Energy Agency. By 2040, the IEA sees renewables accounting for 40 percent of total power generation. Coal, which contributes about 67 percent of generation now, will fall to 40 percent over that period.