China’s Solar Industry May Grow 50% This Year, Group Says

(Bloomberg) -- China’s main solar industry group sees the nation’s new installations this year between 35 and 45 gigawatts and said almost a quarter of domestic solar companies are shut by the virus outbreak.

Even the low end of the installation forecast, posted Friday on the official WeChat account of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, would be a slight rebound from last year’s 30.1 gigawatts.

Solar builds in China are climbing back after a series of policy changes created uncertainties for developers and caused installations to slump by almost a third last year, from the 44 gigawatts installed in 2018.

The CPIA estimates on the impact from the coronavirus are based on feedback from 134 companies, of which 33 hadn’t yet resumed operations since the Lunar New Year break. About 21% of production companies, which account for 119 of the respondents, are not yet back to work.

Other details from the CPIA presentation:

  • Polysilicon producers are running at the highest utilization rate, 89%, followed by solar cells and wafers. The rate is the lowest for three solar glass companies, at 30%.
  • Production utilization rate for operating companies averaged 63%.
  • Utilization rate for solar panel makers was 58%.
  • China produced 98.6 gigawatts of solar panels in 2019, up 17% from the previous year.
  • Polysilicon output last year was 342,000 tons, an increase of 32%.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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