Header Image: #1: Yanchi Solar Park, Huawei

by Szabolcs Magyari, Solarplaza

When it comes to solar power, China is a force to be reckoned with. It is not nearly as immediately apparent that other countries in Asia are also blooming with solar power. Given the recent commitments at COP21 and ASEAN Ministerial summits, positive investment climate and huge hunger for power, Asia has witnessed the commissioning of an abundance of utility-scale solar plants. In an effort to show the strength of solar power in the region, we've compiled a list of the Top 50 largest Asian PV plants. This list of solar PV plants comes in preparation of the 2-day conference, Unlocking Solar Capital Asia set to be held in Singapore on the 28-29th of September.

#2: Longyangxia Dam Solar Park

#2: Longyangxia Dam Solar Park

#3: Kamuthi Solar Power Project (India)

#3: Kamuthi Solar Power Project (India)

#4: Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Phase II

#4: Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Phase II

Top 10 Operational Solar PV Plants in Asia

# Plant Name Size (MW) Location Country Since
1 Yanchi Solar Park 1000 Yanchi, Ningxia, China China 2016
2 Longyangxia Dam Solar Park 850 Longyangxia canyon on the Yellow River in Gonghe County, Qinghai Province China 2015
3 Kamuthi solar power project 648 Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu India 2016
4 Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Phase II 400 Bahawalpur, Punjab Pakistan 2016
5 Charanka solar park 345 Charanka, Gujarat India
6 Bhadla Solar Park 260 Bhadla, Phalodi tehsil, Jodhpur district, Rajasthan India 2017
7 NP Kunta Ultra Mega Solar Power Project Stage-I 250 Anantapuramu in Andhra Pradesh India 2016
8 Huanghe Hydropower Golmud Solar Park 200 Golmud, Qinghai Province, China China 2011
9 Cixi Solar Farm 200 Changhe and Zhouxiang reservoirs in Cixi, Zhejiang province China 2017
10 Gonghe Industrial Park Phase I 200 Xian de Gonghe, Qinghai China 2013

Access the full top 50, including more information on owners, developers and project development costs.

Leaders of the pack

The Top 50 solar plants in Asia encompass a total of 8,548 MW of installed capacity in the region and comprises PV plants ranging from 50 MW to 1 GW. China, the largest solar super power in the region, makes up more than half of all installed capacity with more than 4.5 GW of solar plants. The second most prominent country in the list is India with slightly more than a quarter of the installed capacity. Thailand, from the ASEAN region, bears slightly more than half a gigawatt of the listed capacity and the remaining gigawatt of solar energy is distributed among Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines and Kazakhstan

The most prominent large-scale solar developer of China, United Photovoltaics, accounts for 515 MW of solar energy alone. The company, formerly known as Gold Poly Energy Holdings, developed and owns 6 of the 50 solar parks to date. Another solar giant in the region is Xinyi Solar Holdings which fully owns or has partial ownership in several solar plants across the country. Besides United Photovoltaics, Huawei represents a prominent company in terms of supplying modules and inverters for several of the listed power plants.

Rise of India

India’s position as the country with second most installed solar capacity would have been significantly different a couple years ago. Only 3 out of its 11 Top 50 solar PV plants were commissioned earlier than the year 2016. Another sign of India’s increased focus on solar PV comes from the fact that another 3 of its plants were commissioned just this year. However, India is not only interesting because of its newly established power plants; the country is also home to Asia’s largest conglomerate of separately developed solar plants. The Charanka solar park consists of PV plants developed by 17 different developers and is part of a larger initiative in Gujarat to produce over a gigawatt of energy across the city.

Spotlight on Southeast Asia

In order to give a more focused view on the Southeast Asian region - without the overshadowing effect of India and China - we compiled a ranking of the 10 largest Southeast Asian projects. Although the list provides a clearer picture of the region’s largest solar farms, it emphasizes the Thai and the Philippine regional dominance.

Top 10 Operational Solar PV Plants in Southeast Asia

# Plant Name Size (MW) Location Country Since
1 Cadiz Solar Power Plant 132.5 Cadiz, Negros Occidental, Philippines Phillipines 2016
2 EA Solar Lampang 128 Lampang province, northern Thailand Thailand 2015
3 EA Solar Nakornsawan 126 Tambol Huawai, Amphur Takli, Nakornsawan province, approximately 250 km north of Bangkok Thailand 2013
4 EA Solar Phitsanulok 90 Prompiram District, Phisanulok Province Thailand 2016
5 Nakhon Sawan solar PV 90 Takhli District, Nakhon Sawan Province Thailand 2013
6 Wang Plueng PV power plant 83.5 Lop Buri Province Thailand 2013
7 Calatagan Solar Plant 63 Batangas Phillipines 2016
8 SaCaSun solar farm 59 San Carlos City, Negros Occidental Phillipines 2016
9 Sepalco SSC solar park 50 Palo, Leyte Phillipines 2016
10 Cavite Economic Zone Solar Power Project 40 Between Rosario and General Trias, Cavite Phillipines 2014

Access the full overview, including more information on owners, developers and project development costs.

Calatagan Solar Plant

Calatagan Solar Plant

Southeast Asian Situation

Thailand and the Philippines have made tremendous progress in the development of their local regulatory framework facilitating solar energy. Thailand, has brought online 5 of the top 50 solar plants and many smaller scale plants have also been commissioned thanks to the country’s Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) system and other tax and non-tax incentives. The majority of the large-scale solar development in the country is associated with Energy Absolute PCL. The formerly biodiesel-focused company, has brought online 4 out of 5 of largest Thai solar plants and is aspiring to be a super power in battery production as well.

The Philippines, although very much in the early phases of adopting solar energy, managed to get two positions in the list. The 63 MW solar plant in Calatagan is not only one of the nation’s largest operating solar plants but it also demonstrated the Philippine ability to carry out solar projects of such magnitude. Through the management of Solar Philippines, the commissioning of the plant marked the first time a utility-scale solar plant was developed, financed and constructed entirely through local efforts. The company, led by 22-year-old entrepreneur Leandro Leviste, is planning to continue the clean electrification of the Philippines by establishing 500 MW of solar energy until the end of the year.

An indication of the hot-spot nature of the Asian solar power is not only apparent in the sheer size of the plants but it is also striking looking at the chronological pattern of establishment. The vast majority of Top 50 plants were commissioned in the last four years and some have already commenced operation this year. 

Learn more about solar project development and financing at Unlocking Solar Capital Asia; Asia's key solar event, which will connect 200+ executives with the aim of developing bankable solar PV projects.

The 2-day conference and networking platform Unlocking Solar Capital Asia, taking place in Singapore, will bring together 200+ investors, financiers, solar developers, IPPs, EPCs & other solar stakeholders interested in developing bankable PV projects in the region. The event will provide both regional and country-specific overviews, while empowering delegates with excellent networking and matchmaking opportunities to couple the right projects with the right type of capital.

Looking to really dive into Southeast Asia and get your business kick-started in one of its most promising markets? Consider joining the Solar PV Trade Mission to Vietnam; the 5-day turnkey solution to explore the opportunities for your business in Vietnam (27 Nov - 1 Dec, Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City).

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