China is now the world’s largest market for solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, with the latest statistics from the National Energy Administration (NEA) revealing that the country has a total installed capacity of 43.2 gigawatts (GW). The NEA’s statistics corroborate those released by the state news agency Xinhua, which claimed that the country had recently surpassed the 43 GW of capacity milestone, and overtaking Germany as the overall top market for solar PV in the world.
Much of the country’s solar PV capacity was installed just in the last year — 15.1 GW, to be exact — which is a clear indication of just how rapidly things have been changing in the market. Given China’s size, population and robust economy, it is highly likely that the solar PV industry will continue to grow and develop further.
Despite the fact that the country’s solar PV capacity has increased so rapidly, roughly 13-fold since just 2011, much of the country’s installed capacity has remained underutilized — with approximately 30% remaining unused in 2015 in the province of Gansu, and 26% in Xinjiang, according to the NEA, reportedly due to grid constraints in the areas involved.
Germany remains the second biggest market in the world behind China, currently possessing around 38.4 GW of capacity according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (or 39.6 GW according to the Federal Network Agency) with the US currently in third place with approximately 27.8 GW of generation capacity installed.