China dominates the global market for solar modules. China’s share of all stages of production is now over 80 percent, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In the past ten years, the country has invested more than 50 billion dollars (48.6 billion euros) in photovoltaic production capacities. That was ten times as much as in Europe. The ten leading suppliers of PV production systems are located in China.
The massive investments in China have caused the cost of solar power to fall by 80 percent worldwide, but have created high levels of dependency. “The level of geographic concentration in global supply chains creates potential challenges that governments need to address,” as IEA Secretary-General Fatih Birol put it. Based on current investments, it can be assumed that China will soon reach a market share of 95 percent for important elements of solar cells, especially polysilicon, the starting material that is currently in short supply.