BNEF hedging bets on China’s solar installations in 2018


BNEF is fairly bullish on global solar installations surpassing 100GW in 2018.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) is forecasting global PV demand in 2018 to be at 107GW, up from its estimate of 98GW in 2017. However, BNEF has given the largest single market China a wide installation range after its massive underestimation last year. 

BNEF is fairly bullish on global solar installations surpassing 100GW in 2018, despite uncertainty over the US market and the pending Section 201 case now in the hands of the US President. 

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The market research firm believes a number of emerging markets such as Mexico could become more than a 3GW market in 2018, while MENA region countries such as Egypt, the U.A.E. and Jordan combined could have installations in the range of 1.7GW to 2.1GW in 2018. 

However, BNEF has put China installations in the wide range of 47GW to 65GW, after earlier forecasting only 30GW in 2017, while official figures are set to exceed 50GW. BNEF’s most recently revised 2017 forecast for China expects 53GW of installations.

BNEF believes that the scale of solar installations in China, are ‘fundamentally irrational’ as government set payment mechanisms for generated electricity seriously lag installations. 

Interestingly, leading ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member JinkoSolar, which had said throughout 2017, that the China market would be around 50GW, recently noted in its third quarter 2017 earnings call that it expected demand in China to be in the range of 40GW to 45GW in 2018. 

However, JinkoSolar also noted that the rapidly growing unregulated Distributed Generation (DG) market could push installations significantly higher, noting that its forecast was the minimum expected and the ‘X Factor’ was the DG market as install figures were 7GW to 8GW in the third quarter of 2017, potentially accounting for around 30GW in 2018. 

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