- According to the Chinese Industry Ministry, in 2021 the country exported more than $28.4 billion worth of PV products globally
- It was due to the growing demand for solar, and high level of technological improvements
- Annual production of polysilicon, wafers, cells and modules in 2021 went up by 27.5%, 40.6%, 46.9% and 46.1%, respectively
In 2021, China exported solar PV products made in the country representing a value of over $28.4 billion, according to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) that considers its national PV supply chain as ‘safe and stable’ last year thanks to growing demand for solar globally.
Last year, China produced 505,000 tons of polysilicon, 27.5% more than it did in the previous year which improved the businesses of its mainstream suppliers. The annual output of silicon wafers from China was 227 GW, as per the ministry’s data reflecting an annual growth of 40.6%. Solar cell production added up to 198 GW with a 46.9% increase and for solar modules, the Chinese output went up 46.1% to 182 GW.
Along with this steady growth, the ministry said the national PV manufacturing industry is upgrading on the technology front as well to meet the growing demand for N-type solar cells, thin-films – and work on heterojunction (HJT) cells is also speeding up.
The PV industry was able to overcome the adverse effects of lingering COVID-19 along with trade barriers among other challenges to continue growing thanks to the need to meet carbon neutrality objectives and solar’s cost competitiveness.
Going forward, the ministry expects high-quality development of the PV industry to continue with the accelerated pace of large scale project construction, improvement in distributed PV growth, smart PV innovation and other supportive policies.
“The integration of new-generation information technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence and industrial Internet with the photovoltaic industry is accelerating, and the level of intelligent manufacturing, intelligent operation and maintenance, and intelligent scheduling in the photovoltaic industry has gradually improved,” points out MIIT. “The pilot demonstration of smart photovoltaics has achieved initial results, and systematic solutions in construction, transportation, agriculture and other fields have been introduced.”
MIIT sees this as a good start for the country as the 1st year of the 14th five-year plan. However, going forward Chinese manufacturers will be tested in the international markets of India where the government is imposing Basic Customs Duty (BCD) from April 1, 2022 – that’s as high as 25% on imported solar cells and 40% on imported modules (see India Imposes Basic Customs Duty On Cells & Modules).
Even the US, another big market for Chinese companies, has extended Section 201 tariffs on imported solar cells and modules for another 4 years. It was followed by a local panel maker Auxin Solar filing anti-circumvention petition against Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia from where some of the Chinese suppliers ship their products into the US and Europe (see Another Solar Tariff Petition In US).
A world still dealing with the harmful economic impacts of the pandemic has learnt its lesson to invest in local supply chains which again could be a subject of concern for Chinese manufacturers. Yet, China should be able to absorb most of the products for its own needs as it eyes 1.2 TW solar and module capacity by 2030 to meet carbon neutrality target before 2060 (see China NDC For 1.2 TW Wind & Solar By 2030).