2020 First Half Chinese Solar Exports and Newly Added PV Generation Capacity

PVTIME – Despite disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s solar exports remain relatively unaffected in the first half of 2020. According to recently released National Energy Administration and China Customs data, China shipped out 33.8GW in PV modules and added 11.52GW in new PV generation capacity in the first half of 2020.

2020 First Half Exports

In terms of export volume for the first half of 2020, the Netherlands remained the number one destination for Chinese solar module exports, and imported more than 7GW in shipments over the period. During the second quarter, the major European transit hub took in approximately 4.4GW in solar modules, which is a 60% increase when compared to the same period last year. Proportionally speaking, module exports to the Netherlands increased from 13% last year to 21% for the first half of 2020.

Japan was the second largest export destination with its 3GW of module imports during the first half of 2020. The steady demand for modules in Japan this year can be attributed to the number of projects rushing to achieve grid connection before the end of the third quarter.

Australia ranked third with 2.2GW in imported Chinese modules while India, Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Vietnam each brought in more than 1.5GW. Usually, export volume to India would be higher, but due to COVID-19 and boarder dispute tensions with China, export volume to India dropped from 9% last year to 6% for the first half of 2020. In Vietnam, with the introduction of a new feed-in tariff policy in April, a total of 1.1GW in modules were imported in the second quarter.

In terms of top exporting module manufacturers, Jinko Solar led the pack once again with 5GW shipped in the first half of 2020. JA Solar, Canadian Solar, and Trina Solar followed with 3.4GW each, while LONGi placed fifth with 2.9GW exported. When combined, the top five module manufacturers accounted for more than half of all exports shipped out in the first half of 2020. As the industry continues to consolidate and smaller players withdraw gradually, this trend of dominance by a small number of large enterprises will continue.

2020 Newly Added Installation Capacity

According to data released by the National Energy Administration (NEA) on July 31, newly added PV installations for the first half of 2020 was 11.52GW, which is a slight increase over the 11.4GW installed during the same period last year.

By the end of June, concentrated solar installations accounted for 7.08 GW, and distributed solar accounted for 4.43 GW. Of the 7.08GW in centralized capacity, Shanxi Province accounted for 1.06 GW, while Guangdong Province accounted for 690 MW. Moreover, 620 MW was added in Shandong Province, and 620 MW of new capacity was added in Jiangsu Province. Overall, Northern and Eastern China recorded more new solar installations when compared to other regions of the country.

Accounting for subsequent monthly installation data released by the NEA, newly added PV installation capacity from January to August is now around 16GW, and the centralized vs distributed split of the 16GW is approximately 8.9GW and 7.1GW, respectively.

In July, China added a total of 3GW of new PV capacity, with distributed photovoltaic projects accounting for 886.7MW, which was a 15.53% increase over the 767.5MW installed in June.

For August, of the 1.5GW newly added PV capacity, distributed photovoltaic projects accounted for 1.016GW.