Europe Importing $35.77 Billion of Solar Panels – And they Still Have an Energy Crisis

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to CCP mouthpiece Global Times, up to 50% of China’s solar panel output this year will be purchased by Europe, in a desperate attempt to replace Russian gas imports.

Demand for China’s solar panels soars in Europe amid energy crisis, green transformation

Europe to take 50% of China’s PV exports in 2022 amid energy crisis

By GT staff reporters Published: Oct 23, 2022 09:04 PM

Chinese insiders said that the EU is likely to take up to 50 percent of China’s total PV exports this year. 

Xu Aihua, deputy head of the Silicon Industry of China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, told the Global Times on Sunday that the soaring demand for solar panels reflects geopolitical changes in Europe and the region’s green push.

Exports of PV modules have surged. From January to August, China’s exports reached $35.77 billion in terms of value, generating electricity of 100 gigawatts. Both exceeded the whole year of 2021, China Photovoltaic Industry Association data said.

The numbers are reflected in the performance of domestic PV companies. For example, Tongwei Group on Friday said that its revenue in the first three quarters reached 102.084 billion yuan ($14.09 billion), a year-on-year gain of 118.6 percent.

As of the end of the third quarter, Tongwei’s global market share exceeded 25 percent, making it the world’s largest polysilicon manufacturer, according to media reports.

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Does anyone seriously believe $35 billion spent on solar panels will make a significant difference to Europe’s energy crisis?

If solar panels were any good for solving energy shortfalls, China would have kept the panels for themselves – China is currently suffering energy insecurity. Chinese Premier Xi Jinping understands, he recently announced he has no plans to abandon fossil fuel until renewables were capable of providing energy security.

The problem with attempting to use renewables to solve an energy security crisis is obvious, except maybe to the politicians in charge of Europe.

Solar panels don’t work at night, so massive energy storage capacity would be required to maintain warmth on cold nights. Wind also tends to die down at night.

European winter daytime solar is not much better than night time – Northern Europe especially sees very little sun in winter. Southern Europe also has prolonged periods of bad weather, and sometimes even has snow in winter.

No matter how many solar panels and wind turbines are deployed, fossil fuel backup is still required – more fossil fuel capacity than Europe seems to have access to right now.

via Watts Up With That?

October 25, 2022 at 12:15AM

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