Global solar manufacturing sector now at 50% utilization rate, says IEA

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the capacity to produce solar cells and modules worldwide increased by around 550 GW in 2023.

According to the survey, China presently holds an 80% share of the global PV manufacturing market, with the United States and India holding 5% apiece.

Europe makes up only 1% of the total.

The IEA’s Advancing Clean Technology Manufacturing study states that the global solar cell and module manufacturing industry is now running at a utilization rate of roughly 50%.

It stated that, in 2023 alone, global investments in new solar manufacturers totaled $80 billion, double that of 2022.

About 95% of global investments in wafer production capacity, 96% of investments in polysilicon production facilities, and 83% of module factories were made by the Chinese solar industry in the previous year.

According to the IEA, around 440 GW of the 500 GW total cell and module capacity were installed globally last year.

“Existing manufacturing capacity for solar PV modules and cells could today achieve what is necessary to meet demand under the NZE Scenario in 2030 – six years ahead of schedule, with only modest gaps remaining for the upstream steps of wafer and polysilicon manufacturing,” the report noted.

“While the sharp increase in supply has driven down module prices, supporting wider consumer uptake, stockpiles of solar PV modules are growing and there are signs of downscaling and postponements of planned capacity expansions, particularly in China.”

The agency said that around 80% of the world’s PV manufacturing industry is currently concentrated in China, with India and the United States accounting for 5% each and Europe at just 1%.

“The high geographical concentration of the full solar PV supply chain is unlikely to change significantly on the basis of announced projects, with China’s share of capacity for modules, cells and wafers decreasing marginally and increasing for polysilicon, to reach close to 95% in 2030,” said the IEA.

Data on upfront and operating costs, levelized cost of manufacturing, and national manufacturing incentives were also provided.

According to the report, the cost of a 56 GW solar module plant being built by JinkoSolar in China’s Shanxi Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone is less than the country’s average.

“While estimates are not outturn costs, the facility is projected to come in at $7.8 billion, or $140/kW for full-chain solar PV manufacturing, compared with our national average figure of $185/kW for China,” said the IEA.

Source: Global solar 

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