China’s PV sector eyes opportunities under EU’s new energy plan

China and the EU have bright cooperation prospects in the photovoltaic (PV) sector despite certain differences, industry sources and experts said on Thursday, after the EU unveiled a 210 billion-euro ($220.4 billion) energy plan.

According to the green transition plan called “REPowerEU”, the EU plans to save up to 35 billion cubic meters of natural gas by 2030 through energy saving, diversification of energy supplies, and the accelerated roll-out of renewable energy, in a bid to ensure energy security and achieve a clean energy transition.

“The move will strongly promote cooperation between China and the EU in green energy, especially the PV sector, which has become the EU’s most important new energy transformation path,” an industry source told the Global Times on Thursday.

In the plan, the EU aims to double PV capacity by 2025 and install 600 gigawatts by 2030. It will also roll out a solar rooftop initiative to install panels on new public and commercial buildings and new residential buildings.

The source said that with the acceleration of the layout and application of PV, the EU will import more solar modules due to its high dependence on overseas manufacturers.

“China’s PV enterprises can seize the opportunity of this energy revolution to promote international cooperation in this sector, as the country has been the world’s largest producer and exporter of PV products with high quality and low cost for many years,” the source added.

Data from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association showed that in 2021, China’s PV module exports reached 98.5 gigawatts, up 25.1 percent year-on-year. Europe became the country’s most important export market, accounting for about 39 percent of total exports.

Experts noted that as the US is conducting an investigation into Chinese solar module makers for alleged tariff circumvention, many enterprises have suspended exports to the US and sought other markets where demand has strong growth momentum, like Europe.

LONGi, a Chinese leading PV manufacturer, said during its earnings briefing that in 2022, affected by the significant increase in energy prices and potential energy supply risks, the European market is expected to see strong growth, with a year-on-year rise expected to exceed 50 percent.

The company has increased shipments to Europe. In the first quarter, the percentage of its module shipments to Europe reached 28.4 percent, compared with 20.4 percent last year.

“In addition to the PV industry, China can also enhance cooperation with the EU in the fields of energy storage, hydrogen energy, carbon capture and electric vehicles,” Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Lin predicted that the new energy sector will see broad development momentum at home and abroad amid geopolitical uncertainty and the climate crisis.

Source: Global Times

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