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China's solar 'wobble' drags down global growth: BNEF

Beijing

SLUMPING solar development in China is hobbling growth worldwide.

While worldwide installations are still forecast to rise this year, BloombergNEF lowered its global outlook 6 per cent from its previous forecast as an anticipated building boom hasn't materialised in China, the world's biggest clean-energy market, according to a report on Monday. BNEF now expects 121 gigawatts of solar to be installed globally.

Efforts to streamline China's solar sector have whipsawed the global industry. After an abrupt cut to subsidies and halt to some approvals last year, which sent new installations tumbling, regulators reversed course this year to again support construction with subsidies.

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However, a final decision on the issue announced in July has been seen as coming too late to avoid a second year of declining installations.

China will install about 28 gigawatts of capacity this year, a drop of almost 37 per cent from the previous year, according to the new BNEF estimate.

The revised 2019 forecast is down from 39 gigawatts last quarter, which would have implied a year-on-year drop of only 11 per cent.

Brazil, Vietnam and some European countries are among bright spots elsewhere in the world, BNEF said. Solar exports from Chinese firms were US$13.2 billion from January to August, compared with US$13.6 billion for the whole of 2018, according to the report. BLOOMBERG