China 2012: 5 GW of PV installations predicted

09. October 2012 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

The latest figures from IMS Research indicate that China will see newly installed photovoltaic capacity reach 5 GW by the end of 2012. While the market has seen a slow start, it predicts an enormous end of year surge.

Suntech Chinese solar photovoltaic module product manufacturing facility

Average utilization rates for photovoltaic polysilicon, wafer, cell and module manufacturers fell to below 60% in Q3.

The U.K.-based research company says just 720 MW of photovoltaics were installed in China in the first 6 months of 2012. However, according to the latest issue of its China PV Market – Supply and Demand Quarterly, installations are expected to increase in the second half of the year to over 4 GW, thus taking cumulative newly installed photovoltaic capacity to 5 GW.

Senior analyst, Frank Xie explained, "Many projects are said to have completed the bidding process; however, they are not yet under construction. Integrators are prioritizing projects to be completed by year end, and there will be a huge surge in installations in the final quarter of the year."

This surge is expected, despite the emergence of issues in Q2 2012 in China, including "worsening bankability, poor credit conditions and a general slowdown of the Chinese economy". And despite the fact financing levels failed to increase as expected on the back of the government’s newly announced 20 GW of installed photovoltaics by 2015 target.

IMS Research also pointed to the ongoing European trade investigation, initiated by ProSun against Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers, as a reason for the persistence of low utilization rates. It said average rates for polysilicon, wafer, cell and module manufacturers fell to below 60% in Q3. Due to the anticipated installation surge, they are expected to "recover slightly" in Q4, however.

Meanwhile, photovoltaic inverter shipments and revenues were said to have declined in Q3, from Q2 on the back of weak demand. Overall, shipments were said to have fallen by more than half in the first 6 months of 2012 to 700 MW. In 2H, however, shipments worth over 4 GW are predicted. 

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