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33% Of All Global PV Shipments Ended Up In China In The 4th Quarter

According to new research from the NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report, the Chinese end-market received 33% of global solar photovoltaic (PV) shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Just two years ago, the Chinese end-market was less than 10% of global PV demand,” stated Michael Barker, Senior Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “However, during Q4’12, a third of all global PV panel shipments ended up in China. This is the start of a new chapter for the solar industry, with China potentially taking center stage in both the upstream and downstream channels.”

There is more than one explanation for why China has all of a sudden achieved such end-market domination: slow growth in Europe due to declining PV incentives coupled with Chinese domestic policies geared at assisting Chinese manufacturers have both helped. 

The report found that global solar PV demand rose to 8.3 gigawatts (GW) during the fourth quarter of 2012, resulting in the year-end surge PV suppliers have come to expect. In this case, however, the shift from a year-end surge from Europe to China has produced an entirely new set of complications.

“The Chinese end-market has different module supplier preferences, pricing expectations, and routes to market,” said Baker. “However, threatened by the impact of global trade barriers, the biggest challenge will fall on Chinese manufacturers that are restricted to domestic demand only.”

China Makes Up For 33% of Solar Demand

Global PV Demand by Region (Q2’12-Q2’13)
Image Source: Q4’12 NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly

The Chinese demand for solar PV materials is weighted towards the end of the year. Fourth quarter 2012 demand for solar PV in China accounted for almost 60% of the total year’s demand.

News of China’s solar PV requirement come perilously close to bad news regarding the Chinese solar industry. Earlier this month, we reported that China was removing support for its solar industry, going so far as “encouraging mergers among producers of solar panels, reducing government support, and ‘blocking’ local leaders from supporting domestic producers.” Within two weeks of this announcement, China also declared that it intended to install 10 GW of solar power in 2013.

Main Source: Solarbuzz


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