First Home Solar Array Connected To China’s State Grid

For a nation that leads the world in solar panel production, China has been a little slow off the mark with grid connection in relation to home solar power – but that will change dramatically soon.
China Daily reports the first residential solar power system has been connected to China’s State electricity grid in Qingdao, Shandong province. While grid connection is taken for granted in countries such as Australia, this first installation proved to be quite a task; taking 19 days to complete.
However, we can expect grid connected residential solar to bypass Australia’s tally very soon. State Grid Corporation of China, the largest electricity utility in the world, only started allowing small-scale solar power systems to connect to the national grid in November.
The Qingdao installation will be the first of many millions as new policies mean the work needed to connect privately owned systems below 5 megawatts capacity to the grid will be carried out free of charge. State Grid will also purchase surplus electricity generated by these systems.
The scale of State Grid Corporation of China is staggering. It has over 1.5 million employees and in 2011, generated revenue to the tune of US$ 259.14 billion. Its service area represents 88% of the country and provides electricity to over one billion people.
There will be no shortage of work for those employees. According to RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson, rumour has it that China will boost their solar target to 40GW by 2015; which is an entirely achievable goal considering more than 5GW capacity has been installed in this year alone.
While China’s love affair with solar is set to continue, its rapid ascent in solar manufacturing hasn’t been without its casualties; with numerous manufacturers falling by the wayside due to competition and external forces. China’s government recently announced it would carry out reforms to the industry; including promoting mergers and acquisitions and reducing government support for manufacturers.
China is often criticised; but something we can all be thankful for is the nation brought affordable solar to the world.