The last component of this three-part series focuses on the strategies makers are taking to boost sales.
Zhejiang’s solar panel manufacturers are stepping up efforts to improve their competitiveness in the months ahead and survive the ongoing consolidation in the industry. The past year saw several small and midsize companies shifting to other product lines or shutting down completely amid the challenges besetting the sector.
At most suppliers, weaker demand in major export destinations is the primary concern. In the past few years, Germany and other EU members reduced the feed-in tariffs given to large PV installations, dampening the bloc’s consumption of panels and related technologies. The EU is the top overseas market of China’s PV cells and panels, accounting for about 80 percent of foreign revenue.
Makers are looking to offset shrinking sales in the area by increasing shipments to the Middle East. Kenya and other countries in Africa are also seen as prospective markets.
Additionally, a number of enterprises intend to boost domestic revenue. The market in China is considered to have a high growth potential, with the 12th Five-Year Plan encouraging local demand and reduced reliance on foreign orders.
As part of efforts to improve their competitiveness in target markets, makers are tightening cost-control measures to keep prices relatively on a par with or below those of rivals. This may be difficult for many companies, however, with manufacturing outlay on the upswing.
Polysilicon rates, in particular, are on the rise amid government efforts to restructure the industry and reduce backward production capacity, high energy consumption and pollution. In addition, yield from Japan, a major source of silicon, decreased significantly because of the earthquake last year.
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Note: This article "Zhejiang solar panel suppliers expand customer base" was originally published
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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