Technicians check solar panels in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. (SONG WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY)
China is expanding rapidly in the global new energy market with a ramp-up of product exports including solar modules and lithium batteries, buoyed by increasing global demand amid green energy transition, experts said.
The country will keep up with the trend as its manufacturers are renovating technologies for lower cost production and use and enhanced performance to raise competitiveness, and they are able to respond quickly to the need for customized products from overseas, they said.
The remarks came after the General Administration of Customs released trade data, which stated that exports of solar cells and lithium batteries in 2022 increased 67.8 percent and 86.7 percent year-on-year, respectively.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that the growth of China's exports of new energy products was the result of rising worldwide demand for such goods, and the trend is likely to continue, buoyed by the transitioning of global energy structures and recovering economies.
"China's new energy industry is developing rapidly. Its products, especially solar panels and lithium batteries, are competitive in the global market with low prices and high quality, and relevant companies have gained increasing recognition and relatively high reputation in the international market, which is also an important driver of the export growth," Zhou said.
"Going forward, global demand for low-carbon energy, especially in energy-intensive areas like construction, will continue to boost China's exports of new energy facilities, which is an opportunity for Chinese companies provided they can ensure supply capacity and advancement of technologies.Meanwhile, further efforts are also needed to reduce costs and increase production efficiency," Zhou said.
The National Energy Administration said China will work to promote international cooperation in the area of clean energy this year by establishing the China-ASEAN and China-Arab clean energy cooperation centers, and by facilitating cooperation with European countries in areas like hydrogen energy, energy storage, wind power and smart energy.
"China's promotion of clean energy cooperation in these regions, which has huge demand for new energies, will offer great business opportunities for companies. Chinese new energy products' foray into such markets will also promote local firms' green transition," Zhou added.
Jiang Yali, a solar analyst at energy research provider BloombergNEF, said that as a major photovoltaic product manufacturing country, China is responsible for more than 75 percent of the global PV supply chain, and its export volume of such products has increased significantly in accordance with global growth of around 47 percent or about 268 gigawatts.
Jiang said that China has a complete life cycle supply chain in PV facility manufacturing with an obvious scale effect. Meanwhile, the technology of PV power generation is developing rapidly, which greatly promotes cost reductions, giving the country a leading role in the global PV supply chain.
"In the process of achieving carbon neutrality, solar power — as a clean energy source that can be adapted to a wide range of scenarios at relatively low cost — will continue to exhibit robust demand, and global new installed capacity is expected to maintain rapid growth, which is the continuous driving force for China's export of PV facilities," Jiang said.
"However, with ongoing geopolitical conflicts and trade uncertainties, Chinese exports of PV products have been challenged by trade protectionism such as tariffs, and measures to protect local PV facility manufacturers," she said.
In 2023, there may be more newly increased production capacity in India, the United States, Southeast Asia, Turkiye and other markets.However, over the short term, they still cannot replace China's leading position in global PV facility manufacturing, Jiang added.
The international market may formulate more standards such as carbon emissions requirements, which will also be a challenge for relevant companies, she said.