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NPD Solarbuzz:2013 China PV Demand To Provide US$3 Billion For BOS Suppliers

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Revenues of CNY 19.5 billion (US$3.1 billion) will be available to solar photovoltaic (PV) balance-of-systems suppliers in the Chinese PV market for 2013, according to the recent NPD Solarbuzz China Balance of Systems Market Report.

With a served addressable market of CNY 5 billion by 2017, inverters will continue to provide the greatest revenue opportunity for balance-of-systems suppliers. Power ratings above 250 kW will account for more than 50% of sales. Revenues from mounting and tracker systems are forecast to exceed CNY 3 billion in 2013. Fixed tilt-angle solutions will contribute 90% of those revenues. Revenues from 1-axis and 2-axis trackers are forecast to increase at a 16.9% CAGR until 2017.

"Previously, the supply of balance-of-systems components to the Chinese end-market was dominated by domestic inverter and mounting component suppliers," according to Steven Han, Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. "However, with revenues projected to grow to CNY 25 billion by 2017, the Chinese end-market will soon offer the most lucrative opportunities for global balance-of-systems suppliers."

Figure 1: Quarterly Inverter Revenues for the Chinese PV market in 2013 by Power Size.


Source: NPD Solarbuzz China Balance of Systems Market Report, January 2013.

The strong growth of balance-of-systems revenues within China is being stimulated by aggressive PV adoption targets set by the Chinese government. Solar PV demand from China is currently forecast to exceed 7 GW during 2013, representing 150% Y/Y growth. The ground mount segment will continue to dominate PV demand with a market share of 57% in 2013, driven by large-scale commercial and utility projects in the Northwest region.

Until now, Chinese PV balance-of-systems revenues have been dominated extensively by local suppliers. Indeed, China's 12th Five-Year Plan called for an increase in domestic manufacturers to supply critical components for installed PV systems. Over the past few years, more than 100 new inverter suppliers have emerged within the Chinese market. This has created strong internal competition and also made it particularly difficult for overseas suppliers to break into the Chinese end-market. However, Han noted, "The competitive landscape is set to change, with Chinese balance-of-systems suppliers having to adapt to rapidly declining prices while addressing new and emerging threats from both domestic and overseas suppliers."

In addition, upstream c-Si wafer/cell/module manufacturers in China are now accelerating expansion into the balance-of-systems segment to complement their push into downstream project development and operations. Also, overseas inverter suppliers are forging partnerships and supply agreements with domestic companies to gain access to China's PV systems market and to compensate for softening PV demand growth rates across Europe.

"Understanding system installation types and component supply-chains across China has become essential for any balance-of-systems supplier looking for 2013 revenues," said Han. "With a project pipeline in excess of 35 GW, hundreds of PV opportunities are yet to finalize their choice of balance-of-systems suppliers."


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