Chinese Photovoltaic Export Orders Plummet, Demand in Europe Drops

PVTIME – The spread of the coronavirus around the world has unavoidably slowed the growth of global energy demand and has negatively affected China’s energy exports.

As a major exporter of photovoltaic products, faced with reduced demand, China’s module export volume has shown a downward trend for two consecutive months.

The latest official data revealed the impact of the COVID-19 virus crisis on both logistics and production. In January, China’s photovoltaic module exports decreased by 1.59 GW when compared to the same month last year, a year-on-year decrease of 26%. In February, exports decreased by 0.83 GW, which is a 22.6% drop year-on-year.

At the same time, China’s PV module exports amounted to 684.5 million USD in February, which is the lowest it has been in the past three years. For the same period in 2018-2019, module exports were 848 million USD and 1.223 billion USD respectively. The average unit price per module in February was 0.24 USD/W, which is also the lowest it has been in the past three years compared to 0.36 and 0.28 USD/w in 2018 and 2019.

Last year, March had the largest PV export volume. However, due to the outbreak this year, this will definitely not be the case since most countries have adopted different levels of control and closure measure.

From the perspective of export markets, Europe is the largest destination for China’s PV modules. Last year, we saw a rise in overall demand of modules in Europe with exports surpassing 22.8GW, good for 34% of China’s total module exports. Among European countries, China’s module exports to the Netherlands, Spain, German, and others all increased significantly. The Netherlands became the largest market for China’s exported modules in 2019, taking in 8.5GW of modules, which accounted for 13% of the total export volume. As an important transit point in Western Europe, the sharp increase in exports to the Netherlands also reflects the strong demand situation in Europe as a whole.

As Europe’s other major importers of China’s PV module exports, Spain and Germany are among countries that are heavily affected by the virus and with the Netherlands being a busy transportation hub, the export situation for March and the rest of the year is looking grim. A number of upcoming energy exhibitions have also been affected by the crisis, and all energy-related exhibitions to be held in March in Dusseldorf, Milan, and Amsterdam have been postponed.