- Chinese solar module exports were a total of 69 GW in 4M/2023, including 18.1 GW in April
- Europe took the largest chunk of 40 GW, according to InfoLink Consulting with 10.6 GW in April
- Analysts believe if the overseas markets can sustain this growth in the coming months, PV installations this year will experience unexpected growth
Europe continues to remain the largest overseas market for Chinese solar modules taking 40 GW in 4M/2023 out of 69 GW the Asian giant exported during the period with a 41% annual increase, according to InfoLink. The consultancy says if overseas markets sustain such rapid growth in the coming months, global PV market will experience unexpected growth in 2023.
It would mean manufacturers will continue to expand capacity, but if the inventory draws weaken in the coming months in the overseas markets, then ‘it proves that the significant imports in the first quarter did create consumption issues in markets such as Brazil and Europe’.
The 18.1 GW exported by Chinese manufacturers in April 2023 reflect a 14.8% drop MoM and 53% increase YoY. In January, February and March this year, China exported 14.9 GW, 14.8 GW and 21.2 GW, respectively.
Europe took 10.6 GW Chinese solar modules from China in April this year after importing 29.5 GW in Q1/2023. “Despite the rapid growth at the beginning of the year significantly affecting module makers’ shipping plans, the market’s limited consumption ability lead to concerns about inventory accumulation,” wonders InfoLink. “It remains obscure whether the market has started to import less due to inventory concerns.” However, SolarPower Europe in its Dec. 2022 released EU Market Outlook (only covering the 27 EU member states) forecasted only 54 GW of installations in 2023 (see European Union To Exit 2022 With Over 41 GW Solar Installed).
Asia Pacific followed next with 3.1 GW bought in April, as the numbers declined 19% from last month but up 104% annually. One of Asia’s biggest markets, India imported about 1.7 GW Chinese modules in the initial 4 months this year, which according to analysts indicates overall price decline starting to boost local projects.
Japan imported 2.1 GW and Australia 1.9 GW modules from China during 4M/2023 as demand remains steady here.
With 22% MoM decrease and 218% YoY increase, the Americas imported 2.4 GW modules in April, led by Brazil that alone accounted for about 1.47 GW in the reporting month.
During 4M/2023, Brazil imported 6.6 GW modules from China an improvement of 10.4% on annual basis for which analysts attribute to the country’s new electricity framework that ‘discourages the development of distributed projects and prompted a surge in local installations’. Decline in module prices is also prompting demand from ground mounted projects.
“However, the surge in imports has left Brazil facing high inventory levels as the European market does. The month-on-month decline in April was more pronounced and may represent a slowdown in Brazil’s inventory draw,” warn the analysts.
Another big American market for Chinese modules, Chile imported 526 MW in April taking its 4M total this year to 1.5 GW.
Middle East imported 950 MW Chinese modules in April, or 3.6 GW in 4M duration. Saudi Arabia, alone imported 404 MW in April accounting for close to 42% of the Middle East market. Large scale ground mounted projects planned in the region are likely to push up this demand even more.
In April, Africa imported 970 MW Chinese modules with electricity deprived South Africa taking 760 MW. Demand here is anticipated to grow further.
Meanwhile wafer prices are coming down drastically as LONGi slashed them by up to 32% recently soon after SNEC 2023 (see Also Wafer Prices Going Downhill), with TCL Zhonghuan further bringing them down to below RMB 3.90 for the 182mm format (see China Solar PV News Snippets).