The photovoltaic industry is facing a turbulent year in 2021. After the surge in polysilicon, as well as China’s energy consumption control policies, the supply chain prices fluctuated violently, but the global photovoltaic installations still achieved excellent results. According to PV InfoLink, the global installed capacity of photovoltaics in 2021 will reach 172.6 GW, a year-on-year increase of 23.1%. Among them, the installed capacity in the non-Chinese market will reach 124.6GW, a year-on-year increase of 30.1%. The rapid growth of overseas demand has also driven the export of China’s photovoltaic modules. According to PV InfoLink’s statistics on China’s customs export data, China’s total exports of modules in 2021 will reach 88.8GW, a year-on-year increase of 35.3%. The main sources of growth remain major PV markets such as Europe, Brazil and India.

Global Trends in China PV Module Exports

Global Trends in China PV Module Exports

It can be observed from the chart that in 2021, China’s export of photovoltaic modules to the world will almost show a growth state compared to last month. In addition to the obvious demand for energy transformation in developed markets such as Europe and the United States, other developing countries have also proposed favorable photovoltaics. demand policy. According to the survey, in 2021, the number of countries with photovoltaic installations reaching the GW level will grow to 19, including new countries such as Greece, Israel and Turkey, showing that overseas demand for photovoltaics has increased significantly. It is worth mentioning that Vietnam imported 6.4GW of photovoltaic modules from China in 2020, ranking second. However, after the end of the policy subsidy, there was no follow-up policy. China’s module exports to Vietnam fell rapidly, only 0.4GW. .
The second half of the year entered the traditional peak season of the market, but due to the bottleneck of the upstream industry, the price of the overall supply chain has risen, and the impact of China’s energy consumption policy has further pushed up the price of components, and the high shipping price has also increased the burden on manufacturers. Considering the profit, the terminal demand was suspended, and measures including delaying shipments and renegotiating prices were taken, resulting in a downward trend in China’s module exports in the second half of the traditional peak season.

2021 China's PV module export area map

large regional market

Distribution map of China's PV module exports

Looking at the export area, in 2021, China’s main export markets will still be Europe and Asia. The two regions account for 70%, but the proportion is slightly lower than that of the previous year. The proportion in Europe has increased to 46%, and the proportion in Asia is 70%. reduced to 25%. Other emerging markets, such as the Americas and the Middle East, saw a slight increase.
China exported 40.9GW of modules to the European market in 2021, up 54% from 26.7GW the previous year. Benefiting from the trend of energy transition, Europe continues to maintain the largest module import market, accounting for 46% of the global market. The main countries include the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Poland and Germany, all of which have reached GW-level imports. The Netherlands is China’s largest exporter, with a total annual volume of 23.8GW. However, in November, affected by the patent judgment of the European Court of Justice, some manufacturers were unable to sell the affected products, and the import volume fell rapidly.
The Asian market has dropped slightly from 23.3GW to 22.4GW, and its proportion in 2021 will drop to 25%, but it is still the second largest market for China’s module exports. GW-level importers include India, Japan, Australia and Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia also has close to 1GW of imports. Vietnam, which imported the most modules from China in Asia in 2020, saw a rapid decrease in imports after the end of the subsidy policy, from the original largest importer to only 0.4GW of imports.
Americas, Middle East and Africa
The Americas, the Middle East, and Africa will import 16.6, 6.4, and 2.5GW of modules from China in 2021, and the total share of the three regional markets will reach 29%. Because the total volume in 2020 is small and the base period is low, the year-on-year growth is obvious, reaching 66, 60, and 49% respectively. The importing countries exceeding the GW level include Brazil, Chile, and Mexico in the Americas; Pakistan and Israel in the Middle East; and South Africa in Africa. Among them, Brazil will be the second country to export modules from China in 2021, with a total volume of 11.3GW.

Distribution map of the top 10 China PV module export markets in 2021

Outlook 2022
Energy conservation and emission reduction has become a common global goal at present, and net zero carbon emission targets have also been introduced in various countries, which will further stimulate the increase in photovoltaic demand. In 2022, PV InfoLink predicts that the annual demand will reach 214GW, and the non-Chinese market demand will reach 139GW, an increase of 11.6% year-on-year. Although the increase is not as fast as the previous year, it is still positive for Chinese module exports. However, it is still necessary to observe the changes in the international situation. For example, India will start to impose a 40% tariff on modules in April this year, or countries will establish their own photovoltaic production capacity to ensure the stability of the supply chain. These factors will affect the future international photovoltaic supply and demand.