Non-Residential Building Mount Applications Now Account for More than 36% of PV Projects
Santa Clara, Calif., August 9, 2012—A sharp increase in non-residential building-mount PV applications indicates a strong growth towards self-sustained power generation in the China PV market, according to the recently released NPD Solarbuzz China Deal Tracker report. In addition, the number of non-utility commercial projects being planned has surpassed the utility sector, a further indication of the growing trend towards non-utility-driven PV adoption.
In May 2012, Premier Jiabao Wen called for an increase in self-sustained solar power within the utility and residential segments. According to the China Deal Tracker, the number of non-residential building-mount applications increased to more than 400 at the end of July 2012, while the number of planned projects within China’s PV pipeline exceeded 700. However, ground-mount applications are forecast to continue as the largest segment in China during 2012 with a 58% share, followed by large building-mount applications, which are growing rapidly.
“In the Chinese PV market, utility and corporate segments are expected to dominate in the period from 2012 to 2016,” said Steven Han, Analyst for NPD Solarbuzz. “However, the corporate segment is now forecast to exceed the utility segment in 2013.”
Figure 1: Active PV Projects in China by Market Sub-Segment
Source: NPD Solarbuzz China Deal Tracker report, August 2012
The Northwest region of China—including Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Xinjiang and Shaanxi—will have 63% of the total PV project pipeline for China during 2012-2016. Systems of 1-5 MW will contribute 30% of the total project count, driven by Golden Sun projects expected to be completed.
Currently, the leading PV system developers in the Chinese market include the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP), and China Datang Corporation. These companies alone account for more than 5 GW of PV capacity currently in the project pipeline.
The dominance of the utility segment in the Chinese PV market has made it very difficult for overseas PV companies to compete successfully with domestic PV module and systems providers. However, the growing share of non-utility commercial projects will provide new opportunities for a wider range of module, inverter, and other balance-of-systems component suppliers.
Access to the Chinese PV market by overseas systems integrators is now more viable, which is fortunate at a time when sales pipelines in major European PV markets are at risk from policy uncertainties. However, identifying the most suitable PV projects and partners, and understanding the mechanics of the different bidding processes within China will be key factors for all companies targeting these new opportunities.
The NPD Solarbuzz China Deal Tracker reports project activity in the non-residential segment, including utilities. The database includes a variety of parameters for every tracked installation: project name, project developer, owner or host, system size (MWp and average annual MWh), installed system pricing, system type (ground mount, rooftop, BIPV, off-grid), region, province, city, exact location, project progress, incentive program, installer, module and inverter suppliers, module type, project developer and installer contact details.