Ceramic Industry

Demand for Solar Energy Products in China on the Rise

April 30, 2010

Overall demand for solar energy products in China is forecast to increase 16.6% per year to 50.4 billion yuan (approximately $7.4 billion) by 2013, according to Solar Energy Products in China, a new study from the Beijing office of The Freedonia Group, Inc. Market gains in solar thermal collectors, the dominant solar energy product type in China, will be primarily stimulated by rising personal income levels, which will minimize the hardship of the large initial investment that these more cost-effective products involve.

In addition, expanding construction activity will support sales of solar thermal water heater collectors, a result of increasing roof and facade surface area available for product installation. Market gains in photovoltaic (PV) modules will mainly be driven by a variety of central and local government policies to improve electrification levels in rural communities and to increase the share of solar energy in China’s energy consumption mix.

Demand for PV modules in China is projected to reach 855 peak megawatts by 2013, up from 65 peak megawatts in 2008. Although accounting for a small portion of solar energy product spending in 2008, demand for PV modules is expected to take off during the forecast period. Crystalline silicon modules will account for 78% of PV module demand in 2013. However, demand for thin film modules will see more rapid gains, benefiting from increasing penetration of the technology in large part due to low manufacturing costs compared with crystalline silicon modules. The PV module industry in China is greatly affected by foreign trade, with exports accounting for 93% of total shipment value and imports representing 17% of overall demand in 2008.

Demand for solar thermal collectors in China is expected to grow 9.9% per year to 49.7 million square meters in 2013. Advances will be primarily driven by increasing personal income levels and expanding construction activity. Water heater collectors are forecast to dominate the Chinese solar thermal collector market through 2013, benefiting from rising awareness of the advantages of these products and their being based on proven manufacturing technologies.

Though accounting for a tiny portion of the market in 2008, other collectors will register faster sales gains through 2013. Growth will be primarily spurred by government incentives to encourage purchases of solar cookers and the construction of solar houses in rural areas. Moreover, increasing public and private investment in solar thermal power stations will also stimulate sales of related products going forward.

Visit www.freedoniagroup.com for additional details.