Why it pays to keep an eye on China’s solar market
Just as in almost every other industry these days, it pays to keep a close eye on what happens in the Middle Kingdom.
China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. Six of the ten largest manufacturers are Chinese, the largest being Jinko Solar which shipped almost 10GW of panels globally in 2016.
The Chinese industry is government-supported. Cheap loans encouraged the manufacturers, and Feed In Tariffs (especially in the sparsely-settled west of China) encouraged large volumes of grid-scale installations. By 2013 China passed Germany as the largest solar market; in 2017 53GW were installed domestically.
But solar markets are extremely sensitive to government support. Small changes in FITs mean significant changes in the economics of individual projects, leading to large changes in installed volumes (known as the “solarcoaster”). Just as subsidies can quickly build the market up, their withdrawal can tear it down.
So it pays to watch developments in the Chinese market. On June 1st this happened with a particularly pointed lurch when Chinese authorities, with almost no notice, limited which new solar installations qualified for FITs, causing the shares of Jinko and some of its peers in China to tank, along with overseas competitors (such as First Solar, one of America’s biggest solar suppliers).
Read more HERE
By Andy Saunders on 19 June 2018