China’s Photovoltaics Market Takes the Fast Lane
PV Module and PV Power Plant Workshop – China 2012: TÜV Rheinland and Solarpraxis shed light on current developments
More than 130 participants took part in lively discussions on the most recent developments in the Chinese solar market at the PV Module and PV Power Plant Workshop – China 2012, which took place in Shanghai on 30th and 31st October. Last year, China announced plans to install 5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity by 2015 but has now revised these targets upwards, initially to 15 gigawatts and then to as much as 20 gigawatts. As a result, many of the workshop’s participants expect that China will soon overtake the German solar market.
The opening addresses were given by Eckhart Gouras, Managing Editor of pv magazine Chniese edition and Executive Director of Solarpraxis AG China, and Ulrike Therhaag, Director of Solar/Fuel Cell Technology at TÜV Rheinland Shanghai. Solarpraxis AG and TÜV Rheinland were responsible for organizing the workshop.
The balance between cost control and quality control formed one of the workshop’s key topic areas. The “sharp fall” in the price of photovoltaic modules could in part be attributed to the drop in the price of polysilicon to US$22/kg. Photovoltaic modules produced by conventional Chinese manufacturers currently sell for as little as RMB 3 (approximately €0.37) per watt, and those made by leading Chinese manufacturers have a starting price of RMB 3.77 (approximately €0.47) per watt.
These current price levels mean that many Chinese module manufacturers are experiencing losses, resulting in the government driving forward the consolidation of the Chinese photovoltaics industry. The workshop’s participants are still, however, unsure of how this consolidation will take place. One of the government’s suggestions is that a list of the best manufacturers should be published by an official body, though this has met with resistance from the industry.
On the second day of the workshop, the main focus switched to an animated discussion on the topic of bankability. Both insurance companies and banks are still experiencing difficulties in insuring and financing solar projects in China. In spite of this, these companies are showing increasing interest in the industry and many took the opportunity to find out more about standards in Germany by attending presentations such as those given by Christian Leers, Accelios Solar, René Moerman, SolarIF, and Thomas C. Sauer, EXXERGY.
The overall message of the event was that China’s solar market is on the brink of change. The next workshop, entitled PV Project Implementation Conference, which is due to take place on 18th March 2013 in Shanghai, will further examine how this change is unfolding.
Images are available for download at ftp://ftp472739:Eny8YXyBEhUDaHYL@ftp.solarpraxis.de and can be used at your own discretion.
Judith Hübner, phone +49 (0)30 / 726296-327, email judith.huebner(at)solarpraxis.de