China solar PV exports

Updated on 6 February 2024

Data on China solar PV module export by import country

Topic: Electricity

Overview

Ember China solar export dataset provides the following information:

  • Export amount in weight (kg)
  • Export amount in US dollars (USD)
  • Export amount in quantity (number of items)
  • Average photovoltaic module price (USD)
  • Calculated capacity (MW)

Methodology

Solar Exports

The IEA has stated that China’s solar photovoltaic exports account for 80% of the global market.

Ember’s China solar exports dataset is sourced from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC):

  • Data is available from 2017 to present.
  • Prior to 2022,  assembled and non-assembled cells were not disaggregated into separate commodity codes.   
  • Prior to 2022, the commodity code used is 85414020 (Solar cells).
  • From 2022 and onwards, the commodity code used is 85414300 (Photovoltaic cells assembled in modules or made up into panels). 
  • From 2022 and onwards the code 85414200 (Photovoltaic cells not assembled in modules or made up into panels) is excluded from this dataset. In 2022, unassembled modules accounted for 8.7% of total photovoltaic cell exports by value. 

Photovoltaic (PV) Module Price

Average monthly PV module prices are sourced from InfoLink Consulting Group. For this dataset, only the overseas market price for assembled modules is used.  All prices published for a given month are averaged, and prices are interpolated for missing months. The monthly PV module price is included in the data download.

Capacity Calculation

The capacity (MW) of the solar exports in this dataset is not reported by GACC. We calculate capacity from the export value in US dollars (from the raw GACC customs data) and the average monthly PV module prices described above.

Release Schedule

GACC releases the monthly solar export data with a one month lag (except for January and February data, which are released together in March). 

The GACC release is usually available on the 20th of the month, and this dataset is updated shortly afterwards.

Caveats

GACC data records the first country modules are exported to, which may not be the final destination country. This is particularly evident for exports to The Netherlands which is a major import hub for European countries.

The price to capacity conversion is based on a single average module price for that month.  This should be regarded as an indicative value useful for comparing broad trends. In reality there are different types of solar module trading at different prices, this breakdown is not available in the customs data..    

Explore this data

Explore the data using the China solar exports data tool

 

 

Sam Hawkins photo
Sam Hawkins
Data lead