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Southeast Asia as a Photovoltaic Powerhouse: Trends and Challenges

published: 2024-05-09 17:25

From the perspective of photovoltaic industry capacity, Southeast Asia is undoubtedly the largest production region outside of China. As of the first quarter of 2024, the total capacity of photovoltaic modules in Southeast Asia reached 93.2GW, with cell capacity at 69.6GW, wafer capacity at 34.2GW, and polysilicon capacity at 82,000 tons. Chinese photovoltaic companies hold a significant position in Southeast Asia, with module capacity totaling about 50GW, accounting for 53.6%. Additionally, cell capacity is approximately 45GW, and wafer capacity is around 27GW.

Major Chinese photovoltaic firms such as Jinko Solar, Trina Solar, LONGi Green Energy, JA Solar, CSIQ, and ET Solar have established integrated capacities for wafers, cells, and modules in Southeast Asia.

Local enterprises in Southeast Asia, second only to Chinese companies, have a total module capacity of about 16GW. Representative companies include Vietnam's Boviet Solar, Cambodia's NE Solar and Imperial Star Solar, and Singapore's Dehui Solar and Maxeon.

At the same time, Southeast Asia has also attracted substantial investments from photovoltaic companies from other countries. American companies such as First Solar, Apollo Solar, and SEG Solar, Japan's VSUN Solar, and Turkey's HT Solar have established production bases in the region. However, current capacity distribution shows that overseas companies in Southeast Asia mainly focus on modules and cells, while wafer capacity is still predominantly controlled by Chinese companies.

From a geographical layout perspective, Vietnam occupies a leading position in Southeast Asia's photovoltaic industry, with module capacity reaching 54.8GW, cell capacity at 36.45GW, and wafer capacity at 18.5GW, forming a relatively complete industrial chain. Other countries have smaller capacities compared to Vietnam, with Malaysia at 15.6GW for modules, Indonesia at 8.5GW, Thailand at 7.25GW, and Cambodia at 6.4GW.

In terms of cell capacity, Malaysia stands out with a capacity of 16.5GW. Thailand and Indonesia have cell capacities of 7.65GW and 6GW, respectively, while Cambodia's capacity is 3GW.

Southeast Asia is a crucial supply location for American photovoltaic products. According to Wood Mackenzie, in 2023, 80% of the components imported into the U.S. were from Southeast Asia. However, the anti-circumvention exemption in Southeast Asia is expected to end in June this year, which could impact the capacity of Chinese companies in the region to export to the U.S.

Furthermore, on April 24th, several American photovoltaic companies submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on cells originating from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Typically, the ITC makes a preliminary decision within 45 days of receiving an application, and if harm is found, photovoltaic enterprises in Southeast Asia may face new risks.


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