- A new market research by China Energy News claims China currently has 3,612 PV glass related companies
- With 777 companies registered, Guangdong province is the region with the largest share
- Between January 2021 and April 2021, 94 new PV glass related companies were registered in the country
It is a fact well known that China is the world’s largest solar PV glass manufacturer. In 2019, China produced 466 million sq. mtr. of PV glass, accounting for 86% of the global output, and sold this product worth RMB 14.11 billion representing 85% of the global share, according to a new research by China Energy News.
When one thinks of Chinese solar grade glass manufacturers, the first few names that come up in mind are Xinyi Solar, Flat Glass, Changzhou Almaden, Kibing Group, among others.
The fact is there are many, many more PV glass companies in China today, as many as 3,612 with 471 new companies registered in 2020 itself—almost at the same level as in 2019 with 477 registrations, reported China Energy News. During January 2021 to April 2021, 94 new PV glass related companies were registered in the country, reflecting an annual decrease of 36%. In the month of March 2021, the number of registrations was 25, and in April 2021 it went up slightly to 26.
Of the total number, the region with the highest share of PV glass companies is Guangdong with 777, followed by Jiangsu with 423, Anhui with 325, Hunan with 315 and Shandong with 235 companies operating here. In Guangdong province alone, the city of Guangzhou hosts 365 companies, accounting for 47% of the total in the province.
Glass prices have risen sharply last year. As the analysts note the price of original PV glass increased by 70% in 2020, for instance, price of 3.2mm original PV glass increased 70%, from RMB 20 per sq. from the beginning of 2020, to RMB 34 per sq. at the end of 2020.
“Since the second half of 2020, the price of photovoltaic glass has risen sharply, and the rate of increase once nearly doubled. After relaxing the production capacity of photovoltaic glass at the policy level, the price of photovoltaic glass has fallen sharply since 2021,” according to the report.
The Vice President of one of the leading solar module manufacturers, JinkoSolar, Dany Qian in March 2021 said solar module prices were going up due to tight supply of critical raw materials as PV glass, polysilicon and silver, mainly due to high demand for bifacial solar panels that requires double the glass needed for panels, and that this short supply is to continue in the near future.
PV InfoLink had also remarked that till the time new capacity comes online, module manufacturers are forced to increase module prices, and if the customers don’t accept that they are lowering their utilization rates or even halted production (see Tight Raw Material Supply Pushing Up PV Module Prices).
However, BloombergNEF, while sharing 2021 annual PV forecast of 164 GW to 204 GW, said there should be adequate supply of PV glass and polysilicon coming online in 2021 (see BloombergNEF Forecasts 160 GW New Solar PV Build In 2021). While the brief glass supply shortage indeed seems to be under control, it will take longer for polysilicon. One of the world’s largest polysilicon manufacturer, Daqo said in its Q1/2021 results, that it believes the current tight supply of polysilicon in the market is likely to last until the middle of 2022 when some additional supply of polysilicon will flow into the market (see Daqo New Energy Pockets $256 Million Revenues In Q1/2021).