China Solar-Cell Makers Should Curb Growth, State Body Says

Chinese makers of solar cells, who feed the majority of world consumption, need to curb expansion plans as the market weakens and supply exceeds demand, according to a researcher from the country’s top economic planning body.

“The expansion of the market won’t keep up with growth in production capacity,” Li Junfeng, deputy director general of the National Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Research Institute, said in Beijing. “Supply has exceeded demand.”

More than 300 of China’s 728 makers of silicon-based solar cells are closing half or all of their output due to oversupply, Li said today. Installed solar and wind generation capacity is set to expand less than 20 percent a year in future, he said.

In comparison, world solar-power capacity will rise as much as 30 percent to 22,000 megawatts this year, Li said.

The supply glut and slowing European demand are pushing prices lower and boosting competition for producers in the U.S. and Germany. Average solar-cell prices are down 62 percent this year to $0.52 a watt, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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