The Chinese government is ratcheting up incentives for the domestic solar market in a big way at the state and federal level in order to absorb some of the world’s excess solar panel capacity.
China’s PV manufacturing facilities are vastly underutilized. A few Chinese firms might be allowed to fail by the government or encouraged to be acquired by larger, more stable entities. Suntech, LDK, and others are faced with mounting balance sheet issues.
The U.S. and the European Union are imposing tariffs on Chinese solar products, the incentive regimes in Germany and California are diminishing, and China is facing some fierce market realities.
Perhaps the domestic Chinese market can let off some of this steam.
Forecasts on 2012 China PV numbers range from 3 to 8 gigawatts. (The U.S. PV market is forecast at 3.2 gigawatts according to GTM’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report.)
GTM Research has China at 5.5 gigawatts in 2012, with installations predicted to hit 30 gigawatts cumulative by 2015. Suntech’s estimate is four to five gigawatts this year. Carsten Körnig, Managing Director of the German Solar Industry Association, has the China solar market at four gigawatts in 2012.
Yingli’s CEO said China would account for 30 percent of its revenue in 2012. Suntech expects China to account for about 10 percent of its total shipments in 2012, or 200 to 250 megawatts, and sees China as “the world’s largest PV market in the next two or three years.” According to Shi Lishan, deputy director of the Chinese administration’s renewable energy division, quoted in an article in Bloomberg, China is quadrupling its domestic solar installation goal to 21 gigawatts by 2015.