Clicca qui per scaricare

What is behind the recent dramatic reductions in photovoltaic prices? The role of china
Titolo Rivista: ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE  
Autori/Curatori: Nicoletta Marigo, Chiara Candelise 
Anno di pubblicazione:  2013 Fascicolo: Lingua: Inglese 
Numero pagine:  37 P. 5-41 Dimensione file:  300 KB
DOI:  10.3280/POLI2013-003001
Il DOI è il codice a barre della proprietà intellettuale: per saperne di più:  clicca qui   qui 


China is the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) producer in the world, with more than 50% of the world’s cell and module production. PV prices have experienced a sharp drop since 2010, reducing manufacturers margins and forcing a number of U.S. and European PV firms to declare bankruptcy. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role played by China in these recent PV dynamics with particular reference to the role of incremental innovation vis-a-vis other factors like scale, vertical integration, cheap labour, favourable governmental policies or market demand/supply dynamics. A framework for analysis based on the "technological capability" (TC) literature combines insights from a survey conducted in China in 2005 with a recent review of the literature and interviews undertaken in 2012 with international PV experts. The paper shows that cheap labour has a marginal role in reducing the cost of the Chinese PV products. Technological innovation, economies of scale, vertical integration and production capacity expansion have been used as strategic tools to reduce costs and gain market shares. A favourable industrial policy, boosted by credit availability, has also been a driver in the growth of the Chinese PV sector and competitiveness.


Keywords: Prezzi fotovoltaico, costi di produzione fotovoltaico, Cina, capacità tecnologiche, innovazione
Jel Code: Q42, Q41, O53, O30

  1. Aanesen K., Heck S., Pinner D. 2012. Solar Power: Darkest Before Dawn. McKinsey & Company report, published online.
  2. APCO. 2010. Market Analysis Report: China’s Renewable Energy Industry. Report prepared for the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, published online.
  3. Bayaliyev A., Kalloz J., Robinson M. 2011. China’s Solar Policy: Subsidies, Manufacturing Overcapacity and Opportunities. George Washington University: Washington.
  4. Beetz B. 2012. China predicted to install 5 to 7 GW of PV in 2012. PV Magazine, published online.
  5. Bell M. 1984. Learning and the accumulation of industrial technological capacity in developing countries, in Fransman M., King K. (eds.) Technological Capability in the Third World. Macmillan: London.
  6. Bell M., Pavitt K. 1993. Technological accumulation and industrial growth: contrasts between developed and developing countries. Industrial and Corporate Change, 2(1): 157-210,, DOI: 10.1093/icc/2.1.157
  7. Bullis K. 2011. Cheaper high-efficiency solar panels. Suntech Power has developed a better way to make high-grade silicon wafers. MIT Technology Review, published online.
  8. Candelise C., Winskel M., Gross R. 2012. The dynamics of solar PV costs and prices as a challenge for technology forecasting. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, forthcoming.
  9. China Global Trade. 2012. China’s Solar Industry and the U.S. Anti-Subsidy/Anti-Dumping Trade Case, published online.
  10. Dai Y., Shi Z. 1999. Technological Innovation of the Chinese Photovoltaic Industry. Report prepared for the Centre for the Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Carnegie Mellon University, published online.
  11. Dutrenit G. 2000. Learning and Knowledge Management in the Firm: From Knowledge Accumulation to Strategic Capabilities. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham.
  12. Eberhardt K. 2011. Vertical integration. Benefits and limitations. Power Point presentation given at the IPVEA Production Forum. Hamburg, September 6.
  13. Enerdata. 2012. Solar PV: State of the Art of a Booming Market and Impact of Support Schemes, published online.
  14. EPIA. 2011. Solar Photovoltaic Competing in the Energy Sector. On the Road to Competitiveness. European Photovoltaic Industry Association: Brussels.
  15. EPIA. 2012. Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016. European Photovoltaic Industry Association: Brussels.
  16. Ernst D., Ganiatsos T., Mytelka L. (eds.) 1998. Technological Capabilities and Export Success in Asia. Routledge: London.
  17. EU PV Technology Platform. 2007. A Strategic Research Agenda for Photovoltaic Solar Energy Technology. Report prepared by Working Group 3 “Science, Technology and Applications” of the EU PV Technology Platform. Office for Official Publications of the European Union: Luxembourg.
  18. EU PV Technology Platform. 2011. A Strategic Research Agenda for Photovoltaic Solar Energy Technology, Edition 2. Report prepared by Working Group 3 “Science, Technology and Applications” of the EU PV Technology Platform. Office for Official Publications of the European Union: Luxembourg.
  19. EurObserv’ER. 2012. Photovoltaic Barometer, published online.
  20. Fath P., Ramakrishman A., Rosch N., Herbst W. 2012. Cost reduction of crystalline silicon solar modules by advanced manufacturing. 27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Frankfurt, September 24-27.
  21. First Solar. 2011. Corporate Datasheet Q3 2011. First Solar Overview, published online.
  22. Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE. 2011. New Silicon Solar Cell Concepts for Improved Efficiency. Researchers at Fraunhofer ISE Achieve Efficiencies over 20% Using Screen Printing Technology. Press release, published online.
  23. Friedman B. 2009. New Ideas in Educating a Workforce in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. NREL PV Jobs/Labor Intensity Project. Power Point presentation, published online.
  24. Goetzberger A., Luther J., Willeke G. 2002. Solar cells: past, present, future. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 74 (1): 1-11,, DOI: 10.1016/S0927-0248(02)00042-9
  25. Goodrich A., James T., Woodhouse M. 2011. Solar PV Manufacturing Cost Analysis: U.S. Competitiveness in a Global Industry. Power Point presentation, published online.
  26. Grau T., Huo M., Neuhoff K. 2012. Survey of photovoltaic industry and policy in Germany and China. Energy Policy, 51: 20-37,, DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.03.082
  27. Green M.A. 2001. Third generation photovoltaics: ultra-high conversion efficiency at low cost. Progress in Photovoltaics, 9 (2): 123-135,, DOI: 10.1002/pip.360
  28. Green Rhino Energy. 2012. Value Chain Activity: Producing Polysilicon, published online.
  29. GTM. 2011. U.S. Solar Energy Trade Assessment 2011. A study research prepared for Solar Energy Industries Association, published online.
  30. Haugwitz F. 2007. China’s Solar Market. Power Point presentation given at the 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum. Beijing, March 29-30.
  31. IEA. 2000. Experience Curves for Energy Technology Policy. OECD: Paris,, DOI: 10.1787/9789264182165-en
  32. IEA. 2012. Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012. Market Trends and Projections to 2017. OECD/IEA: Paris.
  33. IEA-PVPS. 2012. Trends in Photovoltaic Applications. Survey Report of Selected IEA Countries between 1992 and 2011. Report IEA-PVPS T1-21, published online.
  34. Iken J. 2012. Technology niche versus high-volume business. Sun & Wind Energy, 4: 92-98.
  35. IMS Research. 2011. Gross Profit Feels the Pinch in PV Price War, published online.
  36. IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency). 2012. Renewable energy technologies: cost analysis series. Solar photovoltaic. IRENA Working Parers 1.
  37. Jäger-Waldau A. 2012. PV Status Report 2012. European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy, Renewable Energy Unit Report: Ispra,, DOI: 10.2788/44478
  38. Kazmerski L.L. 2006. Solar photovoltaics R&D at the tipping point: a 2005 technology overview. Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena 150 (2-3): 105-135,, DOI: 10.1016/j.elspec.2005.09.004
  39. Kluftinger B., Roller C., Gallagher M. 2005. Solar Energy. Rise of a New Power Generation. Citygroup Smith Barney: London.
  40. Krause M.B. 2012. Module prices on the German market have been cut to rock bottom as some vendors hold fire sales through November. Photon International, January: 94-98.
  41. Lall S. 1992. Technological capabilities and industrialization. World Development, 20(2): 165-86,, DOI: 10.1016/0305-750X(92)90097-F
  42. Ma S. 2004. Renewable energy in China: brightness rural electrification program. NREL Fact Sheets, published online.
  43. Ma S. 2005. The brightness and township electrification programs in China. Paper presented at the 3rd international symposium New Energy for the South. Gelsenkirchen, May 12.
  44. Marigo N. 2006. The Chinese silicon photovoltaic industry and market: a critical review of trends and outlook. Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, 15 (2): 143-162,, DOI: 10.1002/pip.716
  45. Marigo N. 2009. Innovating for Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Evidence for the Photovoltaics industry in China. Doctoral thesis, unpublished.
  46. Mason N.B. 2012. Outlook for c-Si PV cell technologies. Power Point presentation given at PVSAT-8. Newcastle, April 2-4.
  47. Mazzer M. 2013. Personal communication. Interview conducted 8 February, unpublished.
  48. McDonald A., Schrattenholzer L. 2001. Learning rates for energy technologies. Energy Policy, 29 (4): 255-261,, DOI: 10.1016/S0301-4215(00)00122-1
  49. McKinsey Quarterly. 2012. Three Snapshots of Chinese Innovation, published online.
  50. Mints P. 2012. What is the Forecast for PV Materials in 2012? Renewable Energy World, 5th January, published online.
  51. Montgomery J. 2012. Chinese Tier-2 Modules Offered Below $1/W. Renewable Energy World, 21st February, published online.
  52. Mutti P. 2012. Why module manufacturing is more expensive in Italy than in China?. Power Point presentation given at the Italian PV Summit. Verona, May 7.
  53. National Bureau of Statistics & Ministry of Science and Technology. 2002. China Statistical Yearbook on Science and Technology. China Statistics Press: Beijing.
  54. NDP Solarbuzz. 2012. PV Equipment Quarterly, published online.
  55. Nemet G.F. 2006. Beyond the learning curve: factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics. Energy Policy, 34 (17): 3218-3232,, DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2005.06.020
  56. OECD. 2007. Reviews of innovation policy China: synthesis report. OECD Science & Information Technology, 11: i-68.
  57. Osborne M. 2012. Tier 2 PV module manufacturers in China see utilization rates plummet. PV Tech Magazine, published online.
  58. Parkinson G. 2012. Solar insights: how low will China solar PV panels go?. Reneweconomy, published online.
  59. Pauchard A., Di Marco M., Carron B., Suruceanu G., Richerzhagen B., Brulé A., Kling N. 2008. Recent developments in the cutting of ultra hard materials using water jet-guided laser technology. ALAC Conference Proceedings. Minneapolis, October 1-3.
  60. Pentland W. 2011. China’s coming Solyndra crisis. Forbes, published online.
  61. Photon International. 2012. Market survey. Cell and module production 2011. Photon International, 3: 132-161.
  62. Platzer M.D. 2012. U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Support. Congressional Research Service, published online.
  63. Q-Cell. 2012. Q-Cell extraordinary general meeting. Q-Cell Power Point presentation. Leipzig, March 9.
  64. REDP. 2004. Chinese PV Industry Development Research Report (in Chinese). Report prepared for the NDRC/GEF/World Bank assisted renewable energy programme, published online.
  65. Reidy H. 2012. China Sets World Record in Solar Cell Efficiency. Renewable Energy Technology, published online.
  66. REN21. 2012. Renewable 2012. Global Status Report. REN21 Secretariat: Paris. Romijn H. 1999. Acquisition of Technological Capability in Small Firms in Developing Countries. Macmillan Press: Houndmills-London.
  67. Romijn H. 2002. Small enterprise development in developing countries: innovation or acquisition of technological capability?, in van Dijk, M.P., Sandee H. (eds.) Innovation in Small Enterprises in the Third World. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham.
  68. Romijn H., Albaladejo M. 2002. Determinants of innovation capability in small electronics and software firms in south-east England. Research Policy, 31 (7): 1053-1067,, DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(01)00176-7
  69. Roselund C. 2011. Understanding China as a PV Market: An Interview with Chris Brown of Asia Cleantech Gateway, published online.
  70. Runyon J. 2012. Staying alive: could thin-film manufacturers come out ahead in the PV wars? Part 1. RenewableEnergyWorld.com, published online.
  71. Solarbuzz. 2012a. Asia Pacific to Stimulate Strong Year-End Surge in PV Demand, published online.
  72. Solarbuzz. 2012b. Solarbuzz Module Price Survey, published online.
  73. Solarbuzz, 2012c. Semi-Structured Interview with Solarbuzz Analyst, unpublished.
  74. Song M. 2012. China to Invest $40 Billion by 2015 for Solar Development, published online.
  75. Steinfeld E.S. 2004. China’s shallow integration: networked production and the new challenges for late industrialisation. World Development, 32 (11): 1971-1987,, DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.04.003
  76. Tarantini A., Boscarelli A., Camiciotti C. 2012. Bonuses and constraints in the Italian PV incentive scheme: when and how is PV still profitable. POWER_GEN Europe 2012. Cologne, June 12-14.
  77. U.S. Department of Energy. 2011. Solar Photovoltaic Economic Development Building and Growing a Local PV Industry, published online.
  78. U.S. Department of Energy. 2012. SunShot Vision Study, published online.
  79. Wang S. 2005. Personal communication. Interview conducted 25 May, unpublished.
  80. Wesoff E. 2011. Solyndra’s Loan Guarantee Was 3.4% of the DOE Solar Portfolio. GreenTech Solar, published online.
  81. Xu H., Dou C., Wang S., Lu F. 2012. National survey report of PV power applications in China. IEAPVPS National Survey Reports, published online.
  82. Zhao Y. 2001. The present status and future of photovoltaic in China. Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, 67 (1): 663-671,, DOI: 10.1016/S0927-0248(00)00339-1



  1. Chiara Candelise, Mark Winskel, Robert J.K. Gross, The dynamics of solar PV costs and prices as a challenge for technology forecasting in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews /2013 pp. 96, DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.05.012

Nicoletta Marigo, Chiara Candelise, in "ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE " 3/2013, pp. 5-41, DOI:10.3280/POLI2013-003001

   

FrancoAngeli è membro della Publishers International Linking Association associazione indipendente e no profit per facilitare l'accesso degli studiosi ai contenuti digitali nelle pubblicazioni professionali e scientifiche