China’s Solar Exports Jump 80% in 2022 Despite New Trade Barriers

The export of modules went up by 55.8%, exceeding 153 GW

February 21, 2023


China’s annual export of solar photovoltaic (PV) products, such as polysilicon wafers, cells, and modules, surpassed $51 billion in 2022, a year-over-year increase of 80.3%. China’s export performance is noteworthy as it has come despite the import barriers erected by several countries to restrict the entry of Chinese products last year.

According to China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), the export of modules went up by 55.8%, exceeding 153 GW, which contributed significantly to the growth of both domestic and foreign markets and the global demand for new energy.

In April last year, India implemented the basic customs duty of 25% on the import of solar cells and 40% on modules from China.

In the U.S., Chinese solar imports have hit a snag with a ban for the allegations of using forced Uighyur labor at their factories. The U.S. Department of Commerce found that Chinese solar manufacturers are evading antidumping and countervailing duties by assembling solar cells and modules in Southeast Asia before shipping them to the U.S.

Europe remained the primary export market for Chinese PV products in 2022, constituting about 46% of total exports. The proportion of exports to Europe is projected to continue increasing, underscoring the continents importance as China’s export market.

The Chinese solar manufacturing sector manufactured 827,000 tons of polysilicon, 357 GW of silicon wafers, 318 GW of cells, and 288.7 GW of solar modules during the year.

The cumulative installed capacity of new solar power projects in 2022 was 87.4 GW, a YoY increase of 59.3%. This includes 51.1 GW of distributed solar projects, up 74% YoY, and 36.3 GW of centralized projects, up 41.8% YoY.

However, the country failed to achieve its projected 108 GW solar installation target in 2022. The slippage could be partially attributed to COVID-19 lockdowns and the phasing out of the subsidy regime that made 2022 the first year without incentives for the country’s solar sector.

CPIA forecasts the worldwide installed capacity of solar power generation in 2023 to reach 280 to 330 GW, while China is expected to add 95 to 120 GW.

According to the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Company (AECEA) report, China was home to 530,000 tons of polysilicon production in 2021, which was expected to reach 1.1-1.2 million tons in 2022, 2.2-2.5 million tons in 2023 and 3-4 million tons in 2024.

Solar module shipments by the top ten manufacturers reached 140-150 GW in China in the first nine months of 2022.