China Becomes World’s Largest PV Market

According to the Global New Energy Development Report 2014, China has surpassed Germany as the world’s largest PV market. The report, which was prepared by Hanergy Holding Group and China New Energy Chamber of Commerce, provided a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the global renewable energy market.

The global PV market saw 38.7 GW of new capacity installed in 2013, bringing the cumulative installed PV capacity to 140.6 GW, the report said. New PV installations in China saw the addition of 12 GW in 2013, up 232 percent year on year, demonstrating that the global PV market has gradually shifted from Europe to Asia.

The global new energy industry experienced sustained growth in 2013, as governments aligned their national energy mix to eliminate pollutants and improve the ecological environment, China New Energy Chamber of Commerce vice president Zeng Shaojun said. Chinese companies will be investing more heavily in technological advances and accelerate their pace of going global, in an effort to increase their shares in the global new energy market, Zeng added.

Since 2012, Chinese regulators have been releasing a series of policies and measures, including the State Council’s Opinions on Promoting the Healthy Development of the PV industry, significantly propelling the development of the country’s solar power market. As of the end of 2013, China’s grid-connected solar capacity reached 14.79 GW, up 340 percent year on year.

During the previous few years, China’s PV export demand had plunged on weak economic growth in Europe and the U.S., lower subsidies for exports to major European and U.S. markets as well as protectionist policies. However, the PV industry took a favorable turn in 2013 thanks to the country’s optimization of its export structure by shifting to emerging markets. China’s exports of solar cells and modules to Asia surged 124 percent year on year to US $5.5 billion in 2013, accounting for 44.8 percent of the total, while those to Europe fell 62 percent to US $3.72 billion. During that same year, the country exported US $570 million of solar cells and modules to Africa, up 387 percent from the previous year.

In 2013 many industry players, including Ningxia Sunshine Silicon Industry, were forced to declare bankruptcy due to a severe overcapacity in the global PV market. The exit of weaker competitors brought about a higher market concentration, giving an impetus to a new round, yet, more structured development of China’s PV industry.

China’s PV industry is expected to see a continued recovery in 2014, as economies in Europe and the U.S. stabilize and demand from emerging markets increases. The National Energy Administration announced on May 22 that the country aims to add 14 GW of installed PV capacity in 2014, up 24 percent from 2013.

Lead image: Solar panels via Shutterstock

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Nanjing Shanglong Communications Liu Yuanyuan is Director of Operations and Co-Founder of Nanjing Shanglong Communications. Liu Yuanyuan previously held the position of office manager at the London Financial Times' China translation and editorial bureau in Nanjing overseeing 33 translators, editors and IT support personnel. Ms. Liu brought her many years experience of delivering, under deadline, more than 200 English-language news summaries of articles selected from Chinese-language newspapers and newswires daily as well as supervising the timely completion of 500,000+ word English-to-Chinese translation and localization projects to her role as co-founder and general manager at Shanglong. Ms. Liu joined Shanglong in 2002. In 2006, she added China Business News Service to the product suite – the service provides a continuous flow of well-researched and documented news articles to trade publishers and industry-specific websites looking to supplement their content with the latest news from China in their sector. She manages Shanglong's staff of translators, editors, desktop publishing specialists and support staff, selected from the top universities across China and well versed in the art of translation and in the technology of DTP. Ms. Liu graduated from the People’s Liberation Army Institute of International Relations - China’s elite military academy responsible for the training of the country’s foreign language specialists.

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