China's 17.8GW PV target suggests 'no limits' for development in 2015

The Chinese government's 17.8GW solar installation target paves the way for explosive development in the year ahead, according to a leading industry analyst.

This week, the National Energy Administration (NEA) announced that it would raise its 2015 target from an initial level of 15GW.

"I think over 15GW will certainly be no problem — it’s all about how much more can be installed," Beijing-based IHS analyst Ray Lian tells Recharge, adding that the Chinese PV industry has the manufacturing muscle to make the 17.8GW target a reality.

"(Production) capacity is not a problem. The only issue (in terms of hitting the NEA target) would be obstacles such as financing, grid connection and land or rooftop resources."

The NEA has yet to define how much of the revised target will be reserved for distributed-generation projects, which have been a key government priority since last year.

But Lian argues that the absence of a distributed-generation quota within the installation target is a positive signal from the government.

"It’s better off with no target at all. If you can install more, just go ahead and install more," he says. "Overall, this plan actually means there are almost no limits for 2015."

China connected roughly 10.5GW of PV to the grid in 2014, led by the northern province of Hebei and Jiangsu on the east coast.

Distributed-generation projects accounted for just 19% of the year’s new installations, compared with 23.38GW of utility-scale capacity.

The NEA initially set a 13GW quota for new solar installations in 2014.