Green Energy Expo, South Korea’s largest solar event, attracted more visitors and exhibitors this year, highlighting the strength of the domestic solar industry despite recent unfavorable regulatory changes.
The The South Korean government’s recently released 10th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand lowers the 2030 renewable energy target from 30.2 percent to just 21.6 percent. The government has also announced plans to ease its feed-in tariff policy and reduce the number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 2023. These changes could reduce the size of South Korea’s solar market from around 4.4 GW in 2021 and 2.7 GW in 2022 to just over 2 GW in 2023, according to several analysts.
However, Exco, the organizer of the event, said that the fair has not suffered from these setbacks. It noted that 300 companies from 25 countries and 32,800 visitors participated this year. “The 2022 edition will host 21,124 visitors,” an Exco spokesperson said pv magazinestated that the fair was also larger in terms of total area, although it did not provide exact figures.
The success of the event was partially ensured by the strength of the domestic module and inverter industry. The country is home to major players such as Qcells, Hyundai and OCI Solar, all of whom showcased their latest products at the fair.
For example, Qcells currently has 4.5 GW of annual production capacity for both cell and panel production at its factories in South Korea. “But we plan to increase our cell capacity to 5.3 GW by the end of 2023,” the spokesperson said. pv magazine.
Hyundai currently has 1.4 GW of module capacity and 1.1 GW of cells. “We are now almost ready to introduce our new heterojunction modules,” said a company spokesperson.
OCI Solar presented two new inverters at the exhibition. It said it plans to expand overseas sales due to growing demand for inverters.
Other South Korean module manufacturers at the show included Shinsung E&G Co., which operates an 800 MW module assembly facility. Also at the show was SDN, which currently operates two panel factories, as well as Hansol, which owns a 500 MW module assembly plant.
In addition, the inverter manufacturer DASS Tech brought some of its equipment to the fair. According to it, demand from outside South Korea is now increasing. “Our annual capacity is currently 600 MW, but we can increase it depending on future market conditions,” the spokesperson said.
The resilience of this domestic industry depends in part on recent carbon footprint regulations. These will help South Korean manufacturers as the country has extensive nuclear capacity. However, the rules do not completely block foreign manufacturers from entering the market.
“Despite carbon footprint requirements, Korea remains an open market with a lot of opportunities,” said Cindy Hu, CEO of Yingli Solar. “However, we are considering identifying local partners to meet these requirements, but that may take some time.”