The global trade of solar photovoltaic (PV) products substantially contributes to increases in solar power generation and carbon emissions reductions. This paper depicts global PV product trade patterns, explores emissions reduction potential, and evaluates the impeding effect of tariff barriers on global PV product trade and emissions reductions. Solar power generation will result in a reduction of emissions in a range of 50–180 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) between 2017 and 2060 in a business as usual (BAU) scenario. Compared with BAU, during 2017–2060, global total solar cell and module production and installation will increase by roughly 750 gigawatts (GW) if half of the status quo trade barrier are removed, while it will decrease by 160–370 GW under tensioned trade barrier scenarios. Trade barrier reduction by half from the 2017 status quo level will increase the net carbon emissions mitigation potential by 4–12 GtCO2e by 2060, while extra trade barrier imposition will result in global net carbon emissions mitigation potential decreasing by up to 3–4 GtCO2e by 2060. Well-coordinated policy and institutional reforms are recommended to facilitate PV product trade and to deliver the related global environmental benefits.
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