August 8, 2018 Read More →

Analysts: Rooftop market to drive stronger-than-expected 2018 solar uptake in China

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

China’s decision to slow the pace of solar-power development and cut financial aid to the industry has plunged the global solar market into uncertainty. But some industry insiders see bright spots in China’s domestic solar industry in 2018.

Longgen Zhang, CEO of China-based polysilicon producer Daqo New Energy Corp., told analysts on an Aug. 7 earnings call that China’s solar market will be bigger than expected this year, because distributed generating projects are still being added as the price of solar modules falls. Driven by concerns about pollution and unemployment, new installations in China will be between 40,000 MW and 45,000 MW this year, Zhang said — less than 2017 but more than some analysts and industry participants have forecast.

With China cutting subsidies for large solar farms, “rooftops … become that much more valuable as a source of growth for us,” said Sachin Shah, a senior managing partner at Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which is partnering with real estate fund manager GLP Pte. Ltd. to install 300 MW of rooftop systems in China over the next three years.

Though it presents immediate challenges, China’s new solar policy is “probably very good long-term because it will favor strategic as opposed to financial investors,” Shah added.

Facing a glut of equipment and raw materials, manufacturers would welcome stronger-than-expected demand from China, by far the world’s biggest solar market.

In addition to China’s expanding rooftop market, Zhang said, development is booming in Latin America, the Middle East and India: “The solar end-markets outside of China are accounting for an increasing percentage of our downstream customers’ shipments.”

Rudolf Staudigl, president and CEO of Munich-based polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie AG, has also seen demand growth outside of China.

More ($): Glutted solar industry looks to China’s budding rooftop market for growth

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