China’s newly installed PV capacity up 60 percent from a year ago

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By Ding Yiting, People’s Daily

The newly installed capacity of China’s photovoltaic (PV) industry reached 48.2 gigawatts (GW) last year, up 60 percent year on year, making the cumulative capacity to 253 GW.

Major PV products including polycrystalline silicon, silicon wafers, cells and modules have increased by 14.6 percent, 19.7 percent, 22.2 percent and 26.4 percent in total output in 2020, respectively.

Wang Bohua, vice chairman and secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) introduced that as of 2020, China had ranked first in the world regarding cumulative installation and new installation for 6 and 8 consecutive years, respectively. It has also been the world’s largest producer of polycrystalline silicon and modules for 10 years and 14 years in a role.

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Last year, the global newly installed capacity of PV generation stood at around 130 GW, up 13 percent year on year. Despite the epidemic, the world’s PV industry maintained its growth momentum, which could be attributed to the recovery of the Chinese PV market, Wang added.

China’s exports of PV products dropped 5 percent year-on-year to $19.75 billion last year, due to the impacts from COVID-19 and price fluctuation. However, the exports of PV modules grew 18 percent, while the exports of silicon wafers and cells were basically flat from a year earlier.

In the past five years, China has saw a continuous decline in the ratio of imported polycrystalline silicon, which slipped to 30 percent in 2020. Nearly 80 percent of the products were supplied by domestic manufacturers in the same year.

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The PV industry was also highlighted by the rapid improvement of industrial concentration. According to the CPIA, the production of the top five Chinese producers of polycrystalline silicon, silicon wafers, cells and modules accounted for 87.5 percent, 88.1 percent, 53.2 percent and 55.1 percent of the total productionrespectively, all up more than 10 percentage points.

The CPIA predicted that the newly installed PV capacity will keep rising this year, and might hit 55 to 65 GW. In the next five years, an average of 70 to 90 GW of PV capacity is likely to be installed in the country on an annual basis, the CPIA said.

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