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China could expand its solar industry by 50% in 2020

Despite the coronavirus epidemic ripping through various sectors of the Chinese economy, including the solar industry, Beijing may still significantly boost the number of solar installations this year.

According to the China Photovoltaic Industry Association forecast, China is set to see between 35 and 45 gigawatts in new installations in 2020. If the developers manage to reach the most optimistic figure, this would mean a 50 percent surge from the 30.1 gigawatts China saw in 2019.

Despite last year’s plunge in the domestic solar market which occurred after a series of policy changes, Beijing managed to benefit from the growth overseas, the association said on Saturday. The Chinese solar manufacturers boosted the production of solar panels by 17 percent year-on-year, while polysilicon production capacity surged 19.4 percent.

The solar industry was among those that suffered from the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, which led to multiple factory shutdowns and production disruptions across the country. Some producers have already started getting back to work after the prolonged Chinese New Year holidays, but more than 21 percent of production companies have not resumed operations yet, according to Bloomberg.

Moreover, the shutdown of multiple plants in China has resulted in the disruption of the global supply chain of solar power industries due to delays in exports of solar panels and other components. The disruption has put multibillion-dollar overseas solar projects at risk, for example, in India, which relies on China for 80 percent of the solar modules it uses.

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