Management of COVID-19 effects on renewable energy new installations – Part 2

In the first part of this bipartite article, we touched upon the effects and post-pandemic management by countries in the renewable energy sector. We also gave a holistic perspective about the changes in the renewable energy sector in 2020 from China’s perspective. In this article we go deeper and explore the individual shares of different renewable technologies which have been deployed in China and around the globe.

Solar Energy

In the solar energy segment, China continues its lead in both two types of solar installation including solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power. China has been a dominant force in both the annual and cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity. The dominant trend first began in 2013. In 2020, solar installation accounted for 48.8%  (or 127 GW) out of 260 GW of the global renewable energy installation. China contributed 49.3 GW of it. Although the amount of concentrated solar power installation in 2020 was negligible as compared to solar PV, almost all those installations came from China. To put things in perspective, global concentrated solar installations were 101 MW, out of which China installed 100 MW of it!

As mentioned in the first article, India was the most affected in this segment, due to its ineffectiveness in controlling the pandemic. It lost its position of 3rd in 2019 and slipped to 7th in 2020, a position below Australia

Wind Energy

The cumulative wind energy installation is more than the cumulative solar installation worldwide, but the annual wind energy addition was lower than solar and reached 111 GW, in 2020. Wind energy installation splits into two parts based on the location of installations, i.e. onshore and offshore. In the past year, the onshore installation was dominant as expected with 105 GW in global installations and offshore wind installation reached 6 GW. In line with China’s excellent role in renewable energy installation like solar, China installed 72.4 GW out of  74.5 GW onshore wind energy installations in Asia, 97% of Asia’s capacity. The country also accounted for 50% of the global offshore wind energy installation.


Hydropower including hybrid plants and pure pumped-storage reached 20.6 GW. This included 7.9% out of 260 GW global renewable energy installations. Asia had the highest share of new hydropower installations (14.6GW), out of which China accounted for 83% of it.

To conclude, efficient management of the COVID-19 crisis in China made the 2020 year much greener than the previous year. China dominated 2020 in new renewable energy installations including solar PV, concentrated solar power, on and offshore wind, as well as hydropower. The combination of efficient management and effort to expand more renewables placed Asia as the emerging destination, with 64.5% of renewable energy installations in 2020.

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Source: @irenaimages @Solar_Edition
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