China H1 solar panel production surges 25% in a year

China’s domestic solar manufacturing industry has produced 25% more PV panels in the first half (H1) of this year compared to H1 2016, data from the CPIA has shown.

Official figures published by the CPIA show that module production volume over the first six months of this year hit 34 GW, compared to 27 GW over the same period in 2016.

The data also shows that the average module manufacturing cost in China is now below $0.12/W, while utilization rates in the second quarter (Q2) of the year were higher than the same period last year, at 85%. China’s solar sector once again rushed towards a June 30 FIT-reduction deadline this year, mirroring 2016’s early-year rush.

However, many experts believe that the second half of the year may once again confound those expecting a drastic drop off in installations and production. Analysis of the Chinese solar landscape by independent analyst Corrine Lin revealed last week that an incredibly strong H1 could see China add more than 35 GW of new PV capacity this year.

In production terms, experts forecast China’s production capacity to reach 60 GW in 2017. Last year. That figure was 48 GW. This uptick in output is a result of strong domestic demand, continued demand from the U.S. and growing demand from emerging markets, said CPIA general secretary Wang Bohua.

On these fronts, however, challenges remain. The U.S. has long been embroiled in a trade dispute with China, and the ongoing Section 201 petition – supported by SolarWorld Americas and Suniva – threatens to make the U.S. market even more hostile to Chinese solar products.

Domestically, the stubborn issue of solar power curtailment remains significant, particularly in northwestern China where as much as 30% of available power is failing to meet the grid in the provinces of Gansu and Xinjiang, according to Greenpeace.