PV – Ever closer to Grid Parity, Long Term Outlook - BRIGHT, Short & Medium Term Outlook in more bleak.
United States & India rated the most attractive Solar Markets according to Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractive Indices for May 2012.
April 2012 saw inauguration of 600 MW Solar PV Plants in Gujarat by Hon'ble Chief Minister, MrNarendraModi, at Gujarat Solar Park in Patan district. The Solar Park is the world’s only multi-developer park with an aggregated capacity of 214 Mw of solar projects commissioned at a single location. The rest of the solar projects are at various locations spread across the Gujarat State. This solar park is also Asia’s largest solar power park. Talking on the occasion, Mr D.J. Pandian, IAS, Principal Secretary, Energy and Petrochemicals Department, Government of Gujarat said, “Gujarat recognises renewable energy as one of its key sectors. Gujarat has already taken the lead over other Indian states in renewable energy initiatives, particularly in solar power generation. It is the first State in India to achieve its renewable energy purchase obligation. IFC is supporting Gujarat to replicate in five cities a rooftop solar project first completed in Gandhinagar. The two pilot projects of 2.5 megawatt each demonstrated the viability of generating solar power through a grid-interactive system on rooftops, and will serve as a model for roll-out across the cities of Bhavnagar, Mehsana, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara. IFC is also developing a policy framework for replicating the rooftop solar concept in Gujarat based on the experience gained in Gandhinagar.
The weighted average selling price (ASP) for polysilicon used in photovoltaic (PV) solar cells plunged to $27.20 per kilogram in April, down from $30.70 in March, as presented in the table below. This is marks the first time in 2012 that the average weighted price dropped below the $30 threshold pricing fell mainly due to larger volumes of sales on the spot market compared to contract deals. “Polysilicon buyers are flocking to the spot market, attracted by the lower prices compared to contracts,” said Glenn Gu, senior analyst, photovoltaics with IHS.
Polycrystalline modules quoted at all time low of $0.70 per watt on the spot market was unsustainable for many manufacturers and a new waye of bankruptcies begun with Germann thin-film pioneer Odersun& German c-Si cell maker Q-Cells – the worlds largest cell maker in 2007 – declaring insolvency. BNEF expect atleast half the manufacturers currently in existence to consolidate, either through bankruptcy or acquisition. Thin film makers are the worst affected by the decline in c-Si prices.Thin film leader First Solar struggles on at reduced capacity utilization, Abound Solar has shut its older manufacturing line already.
Indian solar manufacturers such as Tata BP, Indosolar Ltd. (ISLR) and Moser Baer India Ltd. (MBI) are struggling along with counterparts in the U.S. and Europe after lower-cost Chinese manufacturers boosted supply. The chief executive officer of Tata BP Solar Ltd. resigned, exiting India’s third-largest panel maker as the industry struggles to cope with oversupply from Chinese competitors that’s crushed prices.K. Subramanya said in an e-mailThe U.S. Department of Commerce issued anti-dumping duties of 31.14 percent on imports of solar cells and panels from Suntech, 31.22 percent from Trina Solar, 31.18 percent from other companies that had requested but not received individual duty determinations and 249.96 percent from all other Chinese producers, including those controlled by the Chinese government.The department also announced that in light of a massive, evasive surge of imports ahead of the determination, these new duties would apply retroactively 90 days. As a result of this determination of so-called critical circumstances, importers of Chinese solar products must post bonds or cash deposits in the full amounts of anti-dumping duties on imports from now forward as well as back to mid-February.
The DOC also preliminarily determined that the AD investigation does not apply to modules manufactured in China that incorporate solar cells produced in a third country.The Department of Commerce's recent rulings are preliminary findings. No final tariff decisions will be made until both the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission complete their investigations, which are scheduled to occur before the end of 2012.The traditional European PV Markets such Germany, France, Italy & UK announces further PV FIT Cuts in 2012 while new markets awakens to The Solar AGE. Germany is seeking to reduce FIT to control the rate of growth & reduce the country’s subsidy budget. Italy released a draft bill which calls for a 35% cut in subsidies awarded to solar energy projects. Canadian Ontario government plans to reduce premium rates for solar power by 20%
Saudi Arabia has launched one of the world's most ambitious solar-energy programs recently. At the Saudi Solar Energy Forum in Riyadh on May 8, officials from the responsible government entity King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) announced long-term development goals as well as a policy framework. By 2032, the oil-rich country plans to generate almost a quarter of its electricity from solar energy, with 41 GW of solar power capacity.
JAPAN SOLAR program is set to launch on July 1, 2012 and solar is regarded as one of the brightest spots in the Japanese recovery from the tsunami.The new program will guarantee payment of 40 Yen/kWh ($0.50) for solar energy produced by projects >10kw (non-residential) and 42 Yen/kWh ($0.53) for energy from projects <10kw (residential) for twenty and ten years, respectively. Today, installed system prices in Japan far exceed global norms – 2011 system costs averaged ~$6.25/w reflecting a high cost of regulation, grid connection, land, labor and construction costs in Japan as well as a module supply largely dominated by higher priced domestic manufacturers. Following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima-Diachi, the Japanese nuclear program came under severe attack. Today, there are no working nuclear facilities in Japan, reducing the country’s energy generation capacity by 25%. With a hot summer looming, the Japanese expect significant power shortages to roll through the country.
Brazil plans a new regulation due to be implemented later this year that utilities will be eligible for an 80% discount in taxes paid for distributing solar power and a net metering regulation and cheaper loans to solar projects.More mature technologies move ever closer to achieving grid party, it is likely that the renewable energy sector will flourish in the long run. However, in the face of such challenges, the short to medium term outlook in more bleak.