“Out of control” imports: Key takeaways from PV Tech webinar on European solar

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Finlay Colville described module shipments from China to the EU as “out of control”. Image: Heckert Solar

The solar manufacturing industry in Europe has been facing challenges this year, as reported by PV Tech, and the influx of solar modules from China is a significant challenge for European manufacturers.

On 25 October, PV Tech launched the webinar ‘The changing landscape of solar module supply to Europe’ to discuss these issues. During the webinar, Solar Media’s head of research Finlay Colville and Chinese solar module manufacturer Seraphim’s global sales vice president Insan Boy examined solar PV module supply to Europe and identified trends in technology.

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Colville said solar PV module supply in Europe was close to 40GW, a level that the EU market could take. However, solar PV module supply significantly increased to over 60GW in 2022, and ultimately reaching around 100GW this year.

He described solar shipments from China to the EU as “out of control,” and have created conditions where producing modules is rarely profitable for European manufacturers, as module supply far exceeds demand.

According to Boy, China exported 128GW of solar modules to the world from January to August 2023, an amount higher than installation requirements. Of the exported solar modules, 72GW or 56% were shipped to Europe. Year-on-year exports to the Netherlands, France, Italy and Belgium increased significantly. 

The webinar also examined solar cell efficiency. Boy said due to the maturity of the process and the simplicity of production, PERC cells based on p-type wafers are still the mainstream at the moment.

However, its market share is expected to be only 68% this year, down from 84% in 2022, as n-type tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) solar cells are gaining traction. N-type TOPCon’s market share is expected to reach 21% this year, up from 8% in 2022.

Lastly, Coville also explained the PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings during the webinar. A total of 16 module suppliers were awarded A or B grades. Of these companies, nine module suppliers with a total capacity of about 80GW are capable of working on utility projects, including LONGi, JA Solar, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Risen Energy, Astronergy, Seraphim and DMEGC Solar. 

Other solar companies’ bankability ratings will be unveiled at PV ModuleTech Europe 2023 in Barcelona on 28-29 November 2023. 

For the full coverage of the changing landscape of solar module supply to Europe webinar, please refer to the article on PV Tech Premium.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

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