While it is apparent that production costs are lower in Asia, a number of participants at the 5th SNEC PV now also believe that Asian PV product quality has vastly improved. Additionally, the sheer number of domestic firms – both upstream and downstream – is astounding.
As a result, overseas companies are here to try and break into the "difficult" Chinese market. Or, at least, to find the right cooperations.
A U.S. cable and wire supplier, who did not wish to be named, tells pv magazine that while the Chinese PV manufacturing market is large, and there are a lot of Chinese producers, his company is sought after, because module manufacturers either "want cables made in the U.S.", which are certified according to UL standards, or "from German suppliers".
However, conversely, he believes the U.S. PV manufacturing sector is dwindling. "Let’s face it," he states, "production costs here [in China] are lower. How can we compete? Especially when the quality is also on par."
"Made in China"
Walking around the trade show, it is clear that Chinese PV companies with the "Made in China" stamp on their products are a lifetime away from the "fake" designer products regularly found in the countrys train station malls and on its street corners. The Chinese PV companies definitely mean business, and they also mean quality.
Be it modules or inverters, like those from Macsolar, mounting systems, such as those proffered by Versol, or an entire array of PV products under one roof, like those at Linuo Power, there are a number of Chinese companies out there offering products on a par with their European counterparts, at relatively lower prices. And, they want the rest of the world to know.
Consequently, what has become clear, having walked for kilometers around the expo halls, and having talked to local and overseas companies, is that cheap no longer means "bad", and China is one shining example.