China’s PV industry reached new heights in 2021

Chinese annual poly-silicon output increased in 2021 by 28,8 percent to 505,000 tons, wafer output by 40,7 percent (to 227 GW), cells by 46,9 percent (198 GW) and module output by 46,1 percent (182 GW). Just a dozen of companies are responsible for 75 to 78 percent of last year’s module manufacturing. Amongst the TOP 3 module manufacturer, the annual output growth rate was between 50 to 60 percent, according to Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co. Ltd. (AECEA).
Module exports grew by 27 percent yoy, surpassing with 100,55 GW for the first time the 100 GW mark, says AECEA, citing China’s Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCME). The most important export destinations were Europe with 45,3 GW (+54 percent), followed by India with 10,9 GW (+94 percent) and Brazil with 10,4 GW (+129 percent). Export of wafer, cells and modules combined valued $28 billion (+41,8 percent) with modules making up the lion share of $24,95 billion. Current average module prices remain at around CNY 1.88 to 1.92 ($0.28 to $0.30) per watt.
Last year, in total 54,88 GW were installed in the country, »largely driven by residential PV benefitting from national subsidies,« consequently growing by 113 percent (21,59 GW), making up a share of 40 percent. Overall, the share of distributed generated solar PV power including 7,68 GW of C&I, made up more than 50 percent.
By the end of 2021, cumulatively installed solar PV power generation capacities amounted to 306 GW with a share of 35 percent made up by distributed systems. After hydropower (390 GW; 16,0 percent) and wind (328 GW; 7,8 percent) the share of solar power PV in China’s energy mix amounted to 12,9 percent and generated 3,9 percent of electricity by the end of 2021, says the consultancy.
During 2021, contracts for in total 125 solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 10,2 GW were signed. Spread over 47 countries, the earmarked investments totals $5,7 billion. An almost equal share of projects shall be implemented as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP).
AECEA forecasts that 2022 »has the potential to top all past years records.« In January the output of poly-silicon, wafer, cells and modules increased by 6,5 percent, 15,4 percent (+20 GW), 17 percent (+20 GW), and 23,3 percent (19,8 GW) respectively. »2022 could be the very year that solar PV may surpass in each case hydropower and wind in terms of cumulative installations,« expects AECEA's CEO Frank Haugwitz. »China’s demand for solar PV could reach up to 80 to 90 GW in 2022, representing an increase of 45 to 63 percent« compared to 2021.

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