Central subsidies may have been cut back but the domestic market rebounded quickly and overseas shipments soared on the back of rising production volumes and ever cheaper module prices. China witnessed an 18% fall in new PV capacity last year, according to figures announced by the nation’s PV industry association today, but that amounted to a better-than-expected performance from the sector after the government announced a plan to scale back its costly central subsidy system. And with the production output figures of the world’s biggest solar manufacturers booming on demand outside China, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) was taking an optimistic outlook for this year. When the Chinese government at the end of May announced a plan to rein in a PV subsidy program that last year mushroomed to $15 billion of unpaid incentives – according to consultancy Solarzoom – global solar analysts revised down estimates for China’s capacity additions as low as the 30 GW mark. But today’s CPIA figures – which usually give an accurate guide to the official statistics expected around April – showed China installed some 43.6 GW of new solar in 2018, followed a record-breaking 53 GW a year earlier.