Solar installations in the first quarter of 2022 have been affected by multiple uncertainties. Despite that, China still added 12.9 GW of solar, a year-on-year increase of 131%, according to PVmen. Among them, 9 GW of distributed PV was installed, accounting for nearly 70% of the total installations.
It is worth noting that January contributed the most in the first quarter with over 7 GW installations. This is probably due to the delay in data collection for projects installed at the end of last year.
Distributed PV has again led solar installations like 2021. The increasing number of commercial and industrial installers is one of the reasons behind.
Large ground-mounted projects, however, have seen slow growth in the start of this year. Affected by the rising prices throughout the industrial chain, most project pipelines are those waiting to be connected to the grid or mandated by some provinces to complete interconnection by the end of June, 2022.
After the Spring Festival, the prices of the solar supply chain have not seen signs of decline even though polysilicon makers have expanded their production capacity. Polysilicon, wafer and cell prices have continued to rise, according to Solarbe Consulting. Coupled with mounting prices of auxiliary materials and hiking logistical costs, manufacturing and transportation costs for modules are likely to continue rising.
C&I developers are more tolerant to the price spike. Small and medium residential developers and installers, however, are less optimistic about the situation, as expensive modules are squeezing their profits.
However, it is undeniable that since the start of 2022, the intensity and scale of tenders have continued to rise. According to PVmen’s data, in the first quarter, more than 50 GW of modules, 15 GW of distributed EPC projects and 30 GW of ground-mounted EPC projects have been launched for bidding. State-owned enterprises are still the major investors in these projects.