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With uncertainty over demand, China stays well invested in solar

In 2019 global solar demand may add 125GW of new installations - up from preliminary forecasted and revised figures of 109 GW for 2018 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Under the China’s ‘531 New Deal, the halts on utility-scale PV projects and caps on distributed generation (DG)  were expected to result in China installing 30GW to 35GW in 2018, compared to over 53GW in 2017, according to BNEF at the time. As a result, global installs were not expected to reach 2017 levels of 98GW. 

Recent figures issued by China’s solar trade organisation, China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) put total China installs at 43GW - down 18% - year-on-year. 

Rapidly falling PV module prices indicates demand, outside China, has started to outperform expectations, leading not to an annual decline but a strong rebound of around 109GW, in 2018.

BNEF believes that the China’s solar market is still in disarray after stopping support in key sectors, due to a deficit in the renewable energy fund of RMB 150 billion (US$23.4 billion) at the end of 2018. However, a continued strong decline in the global average selling price (ASP) of PV module is not expected in 2019.

BNEF has also forecasted that global solar demand could top 141GW in 2019, a 29% increase over the previous year, depending on competitive pricing, uncertainty over demand in China and the growth rates in other emerging markets.