Beijing - China's National Energy Administration announced on April 24 that the country had installed 9.65 gigawatts (GW) of new solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity which is up 22 percent on the same period a year ago and beyond analysts' predictions.
The Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) based in Beijing covers the Chinese solar industry more closely than many outside of China are able to do. The 9.65 GW installed in the first quarter consists of 1.97 GW worth of utility-scale solar capacity and 7.68 GW worth of distributed solar capacity.
Frank Haugwitz, director of AECEA noted that the utility-scale segment actually decreased by 64 percent in the first quarter of this year according to last year while the distributed solar segment increased a huge 217 percent. This means that much of the new solar power generation is not going into large centralized grids but is being used locally often in micro-grids.
Distributed solar generation is defined as: "Distributed generation, also distributed energy, on-site generation (OSG) or district/decentralized energy is electrical generation and storage performed by a variety of small, grid-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER). Conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, gas and nuclear powered plants, as well as hydroelectric dams and large-scale solar power stations, are centralized and often require electric energy to be transmitted over long distances. By contrast, DER systems are decentralized, modular and more flexible technologies, that are located close to the load they serve, albeit having capacities of only 10 megawatts (MW) or less. These systems can comprise multiple generation and storage components; in this instance they are referred to as hybrid power systems."
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