Chinese solar panel makers are optimistic about European market
Published: May 23, 2023 06:22 PM Updated: May 23, 2023 06:13 PM
Technicians check solar energy equipment on a roof in Cixi City, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

Technicians check solar energy equipment on a roof in Cixi City, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

A senior executive from a leading Chinese photovoltaic (PV) products maker said on Tuesday that he predicted the firm's sales to the European markets will continue to rise at a relatively fast pace this year, while expressing optimism over European market potential,  despite  the region seemingly sending signals over avoiding excessive reliance on Chinese-made solar panels. 

"We shipped 11 gigawatts of PV modules to European markets last year, and we still aim at a relatively fast growth this year... It is always a market that we attach great importance to," Zhong Baoshen, chairman of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday at a press conference.

Zhong's viewpoints shed some light on the strong complementarity between China and EU in PV industry, as Europe is witnessing soaring demand for such goods despite rising geo-political tensions.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post in October, demand is growing for Chinese solar panels in Europe as businesses and families rush to install rooftop panels amid soaring energy prices triggered by the fallout from the military conflict in Ukraine. 

China's total export of PV products, including silicon wafers, cells, and modules, exceeded $51.2 billion in 2022, up 80.3 percent year-on-year, data released by the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) showed.

PV exports to EU accounted for about half of China's total PV exports, rising by 114.9 percent year-on-year. Market demands in Spain, Germany, and Poland are growing steadily, the CPIA disclosed.

"We are very optimistic about European's PV development prospects, as PV products can help EU achieve energy self-reliance at a relatively low cost," Zhong said.

Other PV industry analysts expressed a similar optimism when they talked about market potentials in EU or some other regions in the world.

Qi Haishen, president of Beijing-based THE Solar Tech Co, told the Global Times in a recent interview that with the rapid development of domestic PV industry, the iterative upgrading which has exceeded the level and supply capacity of related equipment manufacturers in the EU, their products are best-sellers around the world.
Industrial insiders also commented on the signal sent out by some European countries recently that they are avoiding overly reliance on Chinese PV products, saying that they want to discuss cooperative models with local European companies.

"We fully understand and respect EU's wish for PV industrial development in Europe...We very much want to discuss any models of cooperation with local European companies, so that we can meet the requirements of EU or relatively countries while achieving mutually beneficial trade cooperation, as I think cooperation is the best and most advantageous outcome for both of us," Zhong noted. 

Last December, the European Commission launched the EU's solar photovoltaic industry alliance, which was widely read as having the aim of regaining production lost to China and establishing a “Made in Europe” industry.

Regarding Europe's plan to set up local PV production factories, LONGi is actively communicating with the industrial parks in some European countries. The company is communicating with business partners and the EU to see what specific rules will eventually emerge.

"We are preparing for those (rules) in advance," Zhong said.

Global Times