Author Kyle Lin
Updated July 04, 2024

China exported 21.2 GW of modules in May, a 1% month-on-month increase from 20.9 GW in April 2024 and a 12% year-on-year growth from 19 GW in May 2023.

The top three importers of Chinese modules in May were Europe, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia. The combined monthly import volume of the three accounted for approximately 66% of the global market. Imports to most markets slightly increased, except for the Asia-Pacific market, with a notable decline, especially in Pakistan.

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Europe imported 10.9 GW of modules from China in May, a 5% increase from 10.3 GW in April and a 9% year-on-year decrease from 11.9 GW.

Recently, traditional electricity prices in Europe declined, with negative electricity prices in the summer, affecting the willingness of the public to install distributed projects. Additionally, factors such as falling prices in the supply chain, reduction in government subsidy projects, high financing costs for centralized projects, and policy changes led to project delays in some regions. Due to the slowdown in demand and rapid imports to restock at the beginning of the year, the inventory levels in Europe slightly increased by the end of the second quarter.

The proportion of inventory differs from last year. Last year, half of the inventory accumulation was with distributors, while this year, module manufacturers hold 70-80% of the inventory. Based on last year's experience, manufacturers will reduce shipments to Europe, limiting the potential price drops from the inventory buildup. European imports of Chinese modules in June would remain similar or slightly decrease compared to April and May. Overall, imports in the second quarter will see limited growth, and it is unlikely to have significant growth as in the first half of 2023.

In May, spot prices for TOPCon modules came in at USD 0.12-0.13/W (FOB) in Europe, averaging USD 0.122/W, a 2% decrease from USD 0.125/W in March. Due to continued supply-demand mismatches, price increases slowed down, with average prices in June slightly dropping to USD 0.11-0.12/W.

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The Asia-Pacific market imported 4.4 GW of modules from China in May, a 17% decrease from 5.3 GW in April and a 74% year-on-year increase from 2.5 GW.

Pakistan remained the largest Asia-Pacific market for Chinese module imports in May, importing 0.9 GW of modules, a 57% decrease from April’s 2.1 GW. Pakistan accounted for 20% of the total Asia-Pacific market, showing a significant import decrease. Other countries such as India, Japan, and Thailand maintained their April import levels.

Utility-scale centralized projects underpin Pakistan’s demand, doubling with good relations with China, making Pakistan a popular choice for Chinese module manufacturers to partner with. However, imports to Pakistan in May significantly decreased due to the news of the Pakistani government planning to impose tariffs on PV imports and a supply-demand mismatch from large imports during January to April. On June 12, Pakistan's Minister of Finance, Muhammad Aurangzeb, declared that there would be no tariffs on imported modules, a move likely to bolster demand. However, given the substantial imports in the first half of this year, any upsurge in the second half will be relatively restrained.


The Americas imported 2.6 GW of modules from China in May, a 12% increase from 2.3 GW in April and an 8% year-on-year from 2.4 GW.

Brazil was the region’s biggest importing country of Chinese modules in May, accounting for 73% of the region’s total with 1.9 GW of Chinese module imports, a 12% month-on-month increase from 1.7 GW.

Brazil’s PL 4831/2023 emergency act passed earlier this year affected module demand from distributed generation projects. Fortunately, the country reduced interest rates from 10.75% to 10.5% in May 2024, bringing positive effects to the financing of centralized generation projects, potentially boosting module demand from the centralized sector.

As of May, Brazil imported 10.1 GW of modules (equivalent to USD 1.2 billion), exceeding the first half of the year’s import quota of USD 1.13 billion, and will be subject to a 9.6% tariff. With the new round of import quotas reduced to USD 1.01 billion from July 2024 to June 2025, subsequent imports may decrease. Since Brazil’s local production capacity has not yet increased, it still relies heavily on imports from other countries, and Brazil will remain a key target market for manufacturers.

Middle East and Africa

The Middle East imported 2.5 GW of modules from China in May, a 7% increase from 2.3 GW in April and a 143% year-on-year increase from 1 GW.

Saudi Arabia remained the region’s biggest importer in May, accounting for 51% of the region’s total with 1.3 GW of module imports, a 7% decrease from 1.4 GW in April. The government supports PV development, launching the Saudi Vision 2030 program and releasing utility-scale centralized project tenders to stimulate demand. Saudi Arabia's long-term demand will be steady this year and imports will continue to increase with government support.

Africa imported 895 MW of modules from China in May, a 29% increase from 694 MW in April and a 24% year-on-year decrease from 1,173 MW.

In May, Egypt and South Africa were almost tied as the largest importers of Chinese modules in the African market. Egypt imported 265 MW of modules, a 208% increase from April’s 82 MW, while South Africa imported 263 MW, a 9% decrease from April’s 290 MW, each accounting for 29% of the overall African market. Benefiting from the launch of centralized projects in both countries in April and May, although short-term demand was effectively boosted, long-term issues such as aging grids, inadequate infrastructure, and long grid-connection approval times may affect developers' investment willingness.

The overall market situation had no changes in April and May, with the European market facing issues of declining traditional electricity prices, falling supply chain prices, and delays in centralized installations, leading to a slowdown in demand and a slight increase in inventory levels. In May, Pakistan was affected by tariff issues, creating a wait-and-see sentiment in the market, ultimately affecting imports. However, the Pakistani government’s recent announcement not to impose module tariffs may benefit demand in the second half of the year.

In Brazil, the implementation of a new round of import quotas may affect imports in the second half of the year, with growth depending on the release of utility-scale centralized projects and the consumption of existing inventory.

Imports in the second quarter are not expected to grow much due to weak demand in major markets. In the second half of this year, imports will stay steady during the peak season in Europe (September to October), then decrease in the traditional off-season (gradually beginning in the fourth quarter), with reduced imports in India and Brazil.

InfoLink launches an updated version of its Supply Chain Utilization Rate Report.

The updated report features interactive charts for comparing the latest utilization rates, enabling a faster and clearer understanding of capacity utilization status of the solar industry.

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InfoLink launches an updated version of its Supply Chain Utilization Rate Report.

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