Results from China’s decision to cease its utility solar feed-in tariff scheme

Adrienne SorensenAugust 16, 20183420

Results from China’s decision to cease its utility solar feed-in tariff scheme 

Unfortunately, the third quarter of 2018 will be the lowest level of solar PV demand since 2015, according to GTM Research, due “almost entirely” to China’s decision to cease its utility solar feed-in tariff scheme and cap distributed generation (DG) at 10 gigawatts (GW). 2018 thus far, has been a tumultuous year for the solar industry in terms of  growth. Following China’s announcement, analysts are unsure of the direction post decision. Some predict  that global solar demand will   re-shift from China to another country while the demand remains high. Other analyst believe that the  predicted demand won’t come close to the 100 GW mark. GTM Research, in Global Solar Demand Monitor: Q2 2018 report, predict that China’s decision will result in solar demand’s nosedive in the third quarter then will rebound by 42% in the fourth quarter as the US experiences its traditional strongest quarterly installations.

The rest of the world keeps going solar 

Asia will continue to account for at least 50% of global solar PV installations through  2020 and 20% of the global market through to 2023. North America installations will remain table and average 16% of global installations through to 2023. 
A rising increase is expected in the Middle East which GTM predicts the global installed capacity from 3% in 2018 to 9% in 2023. This is due to the growth in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which account for 50% of regional capacity additions through to 2023. Latin America accounts for an average of 7% through to 2023.


Our nation’s new normal for solar energy 

While 2018 will be remembered primarily for China’s impact on installations, GTM Research predicts that 120+ GW yearly installations will become “the new normal” from 2020 onwards and, by 2023, we’ll pass the 1 terawatt (TW) mark.
“Specifically for China, our most recent forecast is 33–39GW for 2018. (The range was slightly changed, compared with our last communication: 34.5-39.5GW.),” Xiaoting Wang added. “Despite the policy restriction in China, the market there will not be completely quiet in the second half of 2018, thanks to Top-runner program, poverty alleviation program, and some commercial and industrial rooftop projects that do not require national subsidies.”

In the end, 2018 will be a test of strength for the solar industry. If it can maintain on its  consistent growth, the industry will have turned a corner which is  good news.  However, if by the end of the year global demand has fallen closer to GTM Research’s numbers, codependency on China will be the big takeaway.

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