China's solar power capacity set for record increase in 2022 - industry body

A worker operates a machinery to clean solar panels at a photovoltaic industrial park in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING, Feb 23 (Reuters) - China is expected to add 75 to 90 gigawatts (GW) of solar power in 2022, its solar manufacturing association said on Wednesday, far higher than a record increase in capacity last year.

The world's biggest solar products maker and solar power generator brought 54.88 GW of new solar power into operation in 2021, taking the total installed capacity to 306 GW despite a supply disruption of raw materials.

China could add an average of 83 to 99 GW of new capacity each year during 2022 to 2025, said Wang Bohua, honorary chairman of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), at a conference.

"Distributed solar power accounted for over 50% of total newly installed solar capacity for the first time in 2021. Looking ahead, we will see distributed solar power and centralised solar farms grow at the same pace," said Wang.

China plans to boost rooftop solar power in central and eastern parts of the country that are close to consumers and offer easier access to the grid.

Projects to build more large-scale solar stations in the Gobi and other desert regions in the west are also in the pipeline,with construction for about 100 GW of solar power capacity already under way in the area.

Wang also warned that the booming pace of solar manufacturing in the United States and certain European countries would challenge the industry in China.

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Beijing's energy consumption curbs on industrial plants that use more than 50,000 tonnes of standard coal equivalent could also slow China's solar manufacturing development, Wang said.

Current policy only allows plants with a production of 4,600 tonnes polycrystalline silicon or 2.5 GW of monocrystalline silicon rod to avoid scrutiny.

"The CPIA is coordinating with government departments on the threshold of energy consumption restrictions," Wang said.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and David Stanway; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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