China Achieves New Record in Solar Energy Production

China set a new record in solar power capacity in 2022, installing 87.4 gigawatts, which exceeded the previous year's record, despite supply chain disruptions and rising costs.

by Vincent Godstime

According to the National Energy Administration, China achieved a new milestone in solar power capacity last year as it accelerated its efforts to meet its ambitious climate goals. In 2022, the country installed 87.4 gigawatts of solar power, surpassing the previous year’s record of 54.9 gigawatts. Despite optimistic industry predictions of up to 100 gigawatts, supply chain disruptions and rising costs resulted in a lower than expected increase in solar installations.

Last year, the price of polysilicon – a crucial material for solar panels – reached its highest point in a decade due to a shortage in supply. This led to an increase in panel prices and a decrease in demand. However, with the end of these supply constraints, China may be on track to achieve yet another record in 2023.

Data reveals that China’s wind power capacity saw an addition of 37.6 gigawatts in 2022, indicating a 21% decline from the previous year. The country’s efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic with strict measures, such as transport restrictions and citywide lockdowns, likely impacted wind power installations. Moreover, the discontinuation of offshore project subsidies also contributed to the decrease in capacity.

Despite the challenges faced by China’s wind and solar power industries, the data indicates that the combined growth in capacity for these renewable energy sources reached an unprecedented peak. Meanwhile, the nation’s thermal power capacity, typically powered by coal, increased by 44.7 gigawatts, representing a decline of nearly 10%.

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