The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

China Consumes 33% of Global Photovoltaic Panel Shipments in Q4'12, According to NPD Solarbuzz

The Chinese end-market dominated shipments of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels during the final quarter of 2012 with 33% of global end-market demand, according to new research released in the NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report.

Just two years ago, the Chinese end-market was less than 10% of global PV demand. 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.

Several factors are contributing to China’s rise, including slowing growth in Europe with declining PV incentives and strong domestic policies within China that were designed to assist domestic Chinese manufacturers.

Global solar PV demand increased to 8.3 GW during Q4’12, providing the characteristic year-end surge that PV suppliers have come to expect. However, the shift during 2012 in year-end demand from Europe to China has presented a new set of challenges for the PV industry. The Chinese end-market has different module supplier preferences, pricing expectations, and routes to market. However, threatened by the impact of global trade barriers, the biggest challenge will fall on Chinese manufacturers that are restricted to domestic demand only.

Figure 1: Global PV Demand by Region (Q2’12-Q2’13)

Source: Q4’12 NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly

Chinese demand continues to be heavily back-end weighted. In 2012, Q4’12 demand in China accounted for almost 60% of annual demand. However, this demand phasing provides a significant dilemma for suppliers as they struggle to balance the rewards of year-end shipments with the risks from rising inventories and potential write-downs earlier in the year.

In fact, it was only during Q4’12 that PV manufacturers’ inventories declined. This occurred precisely because of year-end demand from China, allowing module shipments to exceed factory production levels. As a result, module inventory levels at PV manufacturers declined by 4% Q/Q in Q4’12, to a year-end low of 65 days.

Manufacturers that succeed in broadening their end-market coverage should achieve a healthy balance between quarterly production and shipment levels in 2013. In addition, hedging against the effects of the various trade wars, which are expected to be settled sometime this year, will also be essential for success moving forward.

This article was originally published on NPD SolarBuzz and was republished with permission.

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Evaluating the Case for Module-Level Shutdown

Hannes Knopf With 2014 NEC adoption in full swing, many are anticipating what the next version of the code will hold for the PV in...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...


Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World Magazines Name Projects of the Year Awards Finalists

Tulsa, Okla. and Nashua, N.H., Oct. 5, 2015 -- The editors of Power Engineering and Ren...

Sun Xtender® Launches New Website at

The newly designed website for Sun Xtender solar batteries is now live on the World Wid...

Array Technologies Finalizes Shipments to E.ON’s Maricopa West Solar Project

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has completed DuraTrack® HZ shipments to the 20 MW (ac) ...

Canadian Solar Closes Purchase of Ontario Assets from KKR

Canadian Solar Purchased 3 Solar Power Plants Totaling 59.8 MW AC from KKR


energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Northeast States Create Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Northeast states have worked together for several decades to address air quality issues and, more recently, climate c...

Why the Solar PV Industry Should Love Geothermal Heat Pumps Pt 2

It’s a marriage made in heaven: Solar PV and Geothermal Heat Pumps Part 2 of a 6-Part Series Prevailing Heati...

The Whirlwind Known As Tradeshow Season 2015

Wow. What a tradeshow season 2015 is turning out to be! Hot on the heels of Intersolar and SPI, next week we’re...


Michael Barker monitors the status of the global PV industry supply/demand balance and watches related emerging trends. His responsibilities include the Solarbuzz Quarterly and Marketbuzz reports. Barker is also a regular contributor to leading PV...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar fina...

Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar financing...

10 Questions You Should Be Asking

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that the quality of your life is directly...

Join us at the New Solar Power Northeast

From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sold out P...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now