Chinese PV shipments surge in Q4 2014 according to BNEF shipment survey

December's data follows a very strong month in November and continues the steady increase in shipment-to-capacity ratio which began in July 2014.

London, 2 February, 2015 – December 2014 was an exceptionally busy month for PV manufacturers in China and Taiwan, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Solar Shipments Index, suggesting a strong fourth quarter in installations for the region's PV companies.

In the monthly survey of leading PV manufacturers owning over 23GW of module and 24GW of cell capacity in China and Taiwan, Chinese manufacturers reported shipping an average of 113% of nameplate capacity during the month, while Chinese cell makers shipped 101% and Taiwanese cell makers 94%. The Chinese module makers in the survey shipped 2,172MW in December and 1,972MW in November.

December's data follows a very strong month in November and continues the steady increase in shipment-to-capacity ratio which began in July 2014. The main driver for the end of year rush was the Chinese domestic market, where developers rushed to commission and connect projects by the end of the year. Although the Chinese incentives offered in 2014 are still valid for projects built in 2015, provinces which have not built the full 2014 quota they were allocated, may have their quotas reduced.

"There was not a hard deadline as in 2013" said Bloomberg New Energy Finance China solar analyst Nick Duan. "But local governments will want to be as close to the quota as possible."

China's National Energy Administration (NEA) estimates that just under 10GW of PV was connected to the grid in China last year, very close to the government's hard target, but significantly less than the 14GW allocated in its quota. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that a further 2-3GW was built last year, and will be connected to the grid in Q1 2015.

"According to a document leaked on January 26th, the NEA aims to connect 15GW of PV to the grid in 2015, including leftover projects from last year," says Nick Duan. "But a year-end rush is less likely this year, as the NEA is planning to require local authorities to finalise the list of approved projects by the end of Q1 2015."

December's shipment-to-capacity ratio was five percentage points lower than the ratio in 2013 – partly due to the manufacturers in the survey adding 6GW of new capacity through expansion and acquisition. The survey group is mainly tier 1 and strong tier 2 manufacturers, which have corporate reporting structures in place.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects 52.8-58.1GW of PV build worldwide in 2015, up from 45.6-47.6GW in 2014.

The survey is undertaken in confidence and the participants are never identified. Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers should contact Nick Duan ( to join.

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