China Reaches 3 Gigawatts Of Utility Scale Solar

2013 could be the year the world reaches a milestone 15 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity, according to new data from global project tracker Wiki-Solar.
China has leapfrogged previously top-ranked Germany to become the world’s first nation to install over three gigawatts of utility-scale solar power, rising in capacity from 1.96 GW to 3.16 GW since the end of 2012.
Wiki-Solar – which defines utility-scale solar as any installation with a generation capacity above 10 megawatts – says a growth rate of 35 percent is proof that large-scale PV has escaped the slow-down affecting other parts of the global solar market.
“This is partly because of the large pipeline of projects in progress. The 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch was completed in June, and the ½ GW Topaz project is now reported to have connected over 100MW,” says Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe.
The USA now sits a close third behind Germany in the top world solar rankings with 2.895 GW of installed capacity. However, with major projects set to soon come online such as SunPower’s California Valley and Sempra’s Antelope solar plants, Wolfe predicts the USA will be the next nation to hit the 3GW mark. It is estimated that overall US solar capacity – including small-scale and rooftop systems – may have already reached the 10GW mark.
The United Kingdom reached number 13 in the top 20 solar nations on the back of a buoyant first quarter in 2013 – breaking onto the list for the first time with an installed capacity of 87 MW.
After debuting last year at number 21 with 10MW of utility-scale solar power, Australia has been overtaken by Mauritania (15 MW) and the Slovak Republic (18 MW).
Wolfe said although the current solar trade war had a dampening effect on parts of the PV industry, utility-scale solar seemed unaffected; pointing to burgeoning markets in South America, Africa, and the Philippines.
“Expect to see many more countries heading up the table over the next few months.”