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September 2017 – Solar modules from Asia run short


The well-known Chinese module manufacturers currently have difficulties in supplying their customers in Europe. The scarcity of the components is caused by the growing global market.

Chinese made solar modules are running short in Europe due to high global demand.

The operators of the market platform PV Xchange warn of a tense situation on the solar module market. “In particular polycrystalline standard modules from Tier 1 manufacturers are almost unavailable in larger quantities, but even in the case of monocrystalline high-performance solar modules it does not look any better now,” emphasize Gema Garay and Martin Schachinger from PV Xchange. “The prices of the remaining quantities are raising steadily during the last few weeks. Delivery dates are not met and are often postponed by days, if not weeks. ”

Difficult situation for small distributors and installers

Still the situation is not yet dramatic. But more and more small distributors and installers are obviously waiting for their goods. Meanwhile, not only the solar modules of the Asian brand manufacturers are scarce, but also the panels of less well-known producers are increasingly difficult to find on the European market. “Not a few project developers and smaller EPCs complain about the fact that framework contracts are not respected by the manufacturers and the ordered quantities are not delivered according to the agreement”, Garay and Schachinger report. “The main concern is not to annoy the few large customers – internationally acting EPCs and distributors – and put the smaller customers to an advantage.” In the meantime, the inverter manufacturers also have problems to keep up with the rising demand, the consultants from PV Xchange say.

China is building more than 40 gigawatts

The difficulties are mainly due to the rapidly growing Chinese solar market. Many Chinese solar module manufacturers currently mainly serve the home market with an expected volume of 40-45 GW this year. In the first half year, new plants with a total output of 24.4 gigawatts were installed.

But also the still high demand in the USA lets the components on the European market dry up. For Chinese manufacturers, the U.S. market is more interesting than the European, as the Americans are willing to pay higher prices for the modules.

Quick sell in the US

A third reason: Chinese manufacturers are currently selling as many modules as possible in the USA. The U.S. project developers are currently taking all the modules which the Chinese can deliver until September 22. Since then the decision of the International Trade Commission (ITC) about new trade barriers will fall. The investigation goes back to a petition by the insolvent solar module maker Suniva, which justifies its financial imbalance with the dumped prices of Chinese modules. “Depending on the outcome of the investigations and the final decision of the President, there will be either a further market foreclosure, or not, and the situation is easing,” the consultants of PV Xchange say. “Nevertheless, the industry is at least optimistic for the coming year and is speculating on further growth in Europe. No matter how the petition in the US goes – the end of uncertainty and the turmoil will have a positive impact on the rest of the world market. ” (HCN/SU)