Despite the 531 new policy slashing PV subsidies, the Chinese government will still provide subsidies to some distributed system projects, especially those with worse conditions, to assure grid connection at affordable rates, pointed out Liu Yiyang, deputy secretary general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, at a forum on 2019 outlook for the PV power industry on Jan. 17.
Liu reported that installation capacities of distributed systems in China exceeded 6 GW in the second half of 2018, adding that all distributed systems will be connected to grids at affordable rates in two to three years.
At the forum, Wang Bohua, vice chairman and secretary general of the association, urged PV industry firms to step up effort tapping overseas markets, which promise handsome potential this year, notably the European Union, where antidumping and countervailing duties on China-made PV products have ended and demands are expected to top 11 GW this year. Spain will launch projects with grid connection at affordable rates and France, Holland, and Italy will score higher growth in demands. Meanwhile, new installation capacities will grow slightly to 11 GW in the U.S. this year, when demands in India and Japan will expand steadily and demands in Australia will top 4 GW.
Wang reported that more than 26 Chinese PV firms have set up overseas capacities for producing PV cells and modules in over 20 countries, mainly Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, which have prompted many suppliers, including those for inverter, glass, and backpanel, to follow suit.
Wang reported that despite the 531 policy, the Chinese PV industry staged a better-than-expectation performance in 2018, when output of polysilicon reach 250,000 tons, up 3.3%; silica sheets 109.2 GW, up 19.1%; PV cells 87.2 GW, up 21.1%; and PV modules 85.7 GW, up 14.3%. New installation capacities in China amounted to 43 GW last year, down 18%, including 23 GW of centralized systems, down 31%, and 20 GW of distributed systems, up 5%, with the entire accumulated volume reaching 170 GW.
Wang noted that polysilicon, silica sheets, components are main fields affected by the 531 policy. Bolstered by economy of scale and brand advantage, large PV firms have managed to keep their capacity utilization rates over 70%, a far cry from less than 50% for many smaller firms.
(First photo courtesy of Pixabay)