China is buying up a third of the world’s solar panels

Wayne National Forest Solar Panel Construction

China has long been the world’s supplier of low-cost solar panels, and now it’s a major market for them, too. According to research firm NPD’s SolarBuzz report, in the last quarter of 2012 China bought up 33 percent of the world’s solar panel supply.

In contrast, two years prior China accounted for less than 10 percent of the world’s solar panel sales. The shift is a combo of slowing sales in Europe and strong subsidies for solar panels in China.

NPD SolarBuzzSelling solar panels into China is a bit different than selling them to European or U.S. markets. NPD analyst Michael Barker, says:

“The Chinese end-market has different module supplier preferences, pricing expectations, and routes to market. However, threatened by the impact of global trade barriers, the biggest challenge will fall on Chinese manufacturers that are restricted to domestic demand only.”

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