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The decline of solar PV installations in 2020 triggers oversupply and accelerates the consolidation of the Solar PV module manufacturing base

25 June 2020 Edurne Zoco, Ph.D.

117 GW is the adjusted post-COVID 19 installation outlook for 2020.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in China in late 2019, solar manufacturing was severely disrupted in Q1 2020 as the Chinese national holiday was extended and restrictions were placed on movement. This reduced workforces, cut the supply of critical components for PV modules such as cells, connectors, or glass, and made it almost impossible to ship completed products due to the closure or partial closure of transport routes, ports, etc.

As restrictions gradually eased, manufacturing in China slowly resumed from late February, and has reached the end of the second quarter with almost full recovered capacity.

Throughout March, as the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spread around the world, disruption to supply has quickly turned to an unprecedented stall in global demand, switching the industry almost overnight from a sellers' market to a buyer's markets. Tight restrictions on people movement were quickly put in place by Governments in almost every major solar market in the world to curb the spread of the disease, making increasingly challenging to complete installations. In most markets, large projects originally planned for completion in H1 2020 have been impacted and delayed in some way, and roof-top installations will be disrupted in the second half of the year due to changes in the macro-economic conditions. The planning and kicking-off of new projects in H2 2020 will be impacted since the economics and business model of utility and commercial and industrial (C&I) projects need to be reassessed in the new Post-COVID 19 environment.

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Posted 25 June 2020 by Edurne Zoco, Ph.D., Executive Director, Clean Technology & Renewables, IHS Markit

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