July 24, 2024
Solar panel exports are breaking records – now let's install them


Solar panel exports from China surged 34% in the first half of 2023, with 114 gigawatts (GW) shipped around the world, compared with 85 GW in the same period last year, according to a new analysis from energy think tank Amber. We need to get them online as quickly as possible.

Chinese solar exports represent approximately 80% of the global market share in solar manufacturing capacity, so this, of course, has major global implications for increasing renewable deployment.

“Solar growth is at its peak,” said Sam Hawkins, head of data at Amber. “The world is racing to harness this cheap, clean and abundant source of energy to power the economy of the future. It is clear that global manufacturing capacity is not currently the limiting factor to achieve the required five-fold increase in solar energy by 2030.

More than half of the solar panels exported from China in the first half of 2023 were destined for Europe (52.5%). The sector saw the largest absolute growth worldwide, with exports from China increasing 47% year-on-year (+21 GW), reaching a total of 65 GW in H1 2023, compared to 44 GW in the same period. In last year. Once installed, this new capacity could provide about 2% of Europe’s annual electricity demand – similar to Belgium’s demand.

Brazil is the second-largest importer after Europe, importing 9.5 GW in the first six months of 2023, the same as the same period last year (9.4 GW). However, the fastest growth is occurring across Africa and the Middle East.

South Africa saw the largest change of any country outside Europe, importing 3.4 GW of solar panels from China in the first six months of 2023, an increase of 438% (+2.7 GW) compared to the same period last year . As a result, Africa became the fastest growing region, up 187% (+3.7 GW).

The Middle East was the next fastest relative growth region, up 64% (+2.4 GW) in H1 2023 compared to the same period last year. However, its high growth rate has a very low starting point. Saudi Arabia increased solar imports from China sixfold year-on-year to 2.8 GW in the first half of 2023, while the United Arab Emirates increased imports by 33% to 1.4 GW.

The only region to see reduced imports from China during this period was Asia, as India focused on increasing domestic manufacturing capacity.

The US has already reduced Chinese imports to almost zero – sourcing from Southeast Asia instead – and the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act has spurred significant domestic investment in solar panel manufacturing capacity.

Global manufacturing capacity is expected to double again by the end of 2024 compared to the end of 2022. As other countries outside China also increase domestic manufacturing, the global supply of panels is not hindering solar growth – This is the installed PV capacity. Bureaucracy, a lack of solar installers and long waits to get it on the grid have left a staggering 40 GW of solar panel stock sitting in European warehouses.

“We have enough solar panels, we just need to get busy installing them,” said Sam Hawkins, Amber’s head of data. “Policies should focus on ensuring that installation and grid integration can grow as fast as global module supply.”

Electrek’s Tech

The European Parliament today attempted to ease a years-long solar bottleneck, as it approved a requirement that EU nations give 12 months’ approval for renewable projects to be installed in “areas favorable to renewables.” Complete the approval process within 24 months for inbound and outbound projects. Area.

In the UK, some new solar and wind projects are expected to wait 10-15 years because the grid is not ready to bring them online, and that time frame is ridiculous. This makes 12-24 months seem like a celebration.

Read more: Chinese solar giant Trina is opening a 5 GW factory in Texas

Photo: China News Service

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