Germany-based market research company EUPD Research forecasts that roughly 65 GW of unsold solar panels will be sitting in EU warehouses at the end of 2023.
The company provided their estimates to pv magazine in an attempt to quantify the hotly debated projected EU solar module stockpile.
Report authors Markus Hoehner, EUPD CEO, and Ali Arfa, EUPD senior data manager, said in the report that the EU installed roughly 40 GW of new PV systems in 2022 and China imported 87 GW worth of solar modules. The EU's newly installed PV capacity will hit 60 GW by the end of the year, they said in the report, and Chinese panel imports will climb to 100 GW.
“Even by taking the estimation of 100 GW of Chinese exports to the EU-27 by the end of 2023 and assuming 25% of the excess inventory (87.2 GW) will be the normal warehouse flow (around 22 GW), we are dealing with approximately 65 GW of solar PV module excess inventory for 2023,” Hoehner and Arfa said.
“It should be noted that figures such as 47.2 GW excess inventory from 2022 and around 100 GW of Chinese module export by the end of 2023 are not EUPD Research figures,” he added. “According to EUPD methodology, these figures will reduce. These figures are only assumptions and are used for depicting the oversupply issue. We therefore strongly urge the readers to read the full report.”
The comments follow Norwegian consultancy firm Rystad Energy claiming there were 80 GW of PV modules stockpiled in EU warehouses at the end of August 2023, which is double their 40 GW estimation for the end of September 2023.
High-profile solar expert – and pv magazine founder – Karl-Heinz Remmers weighed in on the discussion and refuted the 80 GW figure. He said there was a “normal inventory” of around 8 GW surplus modules in warehouses at that time, and the EU had installed 46 GW of solar at the end of 2022.
The EUPD authors said there had been a “miscalculation” in Remmers’ assertion of 46 GW of PV installed and according to their analysis the figure was 40 GW.
Remmers also based his claim of an estimated 78 GW of Chinese PV exported to the EU by August on figures provided by the London-based think tank, Ember. These figures should have been treated with “caution,” Hoehner and Arfa said.
The duo said that according to their calculations based on “several data points including module export weights” China exported around 66 GW of solar panels to the EU at the end of August. This “obviously reduces the concern for oversupply,” they said.
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