International PV trade is an emerging but prosperous market, which contains high uncertainty and complexity. Functional trade patterns (FTPs) are the basic structural cooperation blocks that better contribute to the evolution trend of global PV trade pattern. In this paper, we aim at identifying functional trade patterns in the international photovoltaic trade with trade interpretations. Based on the trade data of PV commodities from 2007 to 2016, complex networks with countries as nodes and trade flows as links are modeled. FTPs are identified from PV trade networks, their roles on both global and local trade patterns are studied respectively, and countries roles are further measured by FTPs. We find that, 1) FTPs exist with certain structures and trade interpretation; 2) FTPs promote network scale and countries’ centrality; 3) Countries roles measured by FTPs provide fresh perspective of countries’ trade contribution. We suggest policy makers making cooperation with consideration of forming FTPs locally, and understand their countries’ roles by measuring with FTPs.
Keywords trade patterns, photovoltaic, network motif