The plummeting prices of solar energy panels
The global solar sector has witnessed some extraordinary growth in the past couple of years. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the prices of solar panels have fallen by almost 42% in a single year to $0.87 per watt.
CHINA SETS 2015 SOLAR ENERGY TARGET AT 21GW Solar PV Investor, BY SARFARAZ KHAN | 12 JULY 2012 Although the massive target might seem overly ambitious to some, most of the industry analysts believe that it is still very modest. China’s local media has revealed that the National Energy Administration (NEA) has decided to quadruple the country’s 2015 solar energy target to 21GW.
No official word has yet come out from the National Development and
Reform Commission (NDRC) or its department, the NEA. According to
December 2011 estimates, the country had 3.1GW of installed solar
capacity. It now plans to add a further 17.9GW in approximately four
years, including 1GW generation from solar thermal power. Initially,
China had set the 2020 target of 20GW, while its 2015 target was 5GW.
The country is the leading producer of solar panels in the world. The
biggest solar panel manufacturers, such as Suntech Power (NYSE:STP),
Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) and Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL), are all
based in China. Even Canadian Solar (NASDAQ; CSIQ), which is
headquartered in Canada, does most of its production in China. Due to
rising local demand of solar power and abundance of supply, the target
has been revised.
Although the massive target might seem overly ambitious to some, most
of the industry analysts believe that it is still very modest. Lian
Rui from Solarbuzz believes that “with a significant tumble in
photovoltaic prices, the timetable for mass use is ahead of time. The
new target is still very conservative; we expect the installation to
surpass 30 gigawatts.” Some analysts, including Dylen Liu from Pacific
Epoch, have predicted that the country’s solar capacity by the end of
the current year will reach around 10GW. Therefore the increase “is
higher than the previous target, but it was already expected – and
it’s a conservative number.”……
The global solar sector has witnessed some extraordinary growth in the past couple of years. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the prices of solar panels have fallen by almost 42% in a single year to $0.87 per watt. Profit margins have therefore plummeted, and companies
producing solar panels at a higher average cost have found it
difficult to survive. As the solar industry expands, the market forces
have pushed the inefficient manufacturers aside, while those who have
successfully minimized their production costs, through a combination
of technological innovation and government support, have emerged as
market leaders. Some firms have found it easier to blame Chinese solar
PV manufacturers for the decrease in their sales volume.
The Chinese government has time and again proved its commitment
towards the country’s renewable energy sector. Since 2009, it has been
offering financial assistance to its solar sector through the Golden
Sun and BIPV program. The government awards subsidies and provides
assistance to literally hundreds of firms associated with the solar
industry. This year, under the Golden Sun program, the government has
awarded an $0.87-per-watt subsidy to hundreds of developers, including
Yingli Green Energy Holdings. Furthermore, so far, around 1500
projects have been approved for subsidies by the NDRC. According to
Xinhua, the government’s news agency, Wind and solar PV account for a
“big proportion” of the approved projects……. Last week,
International Energy Agency announced that China can potentially
replace Europe as the leading renewable energy growth market. Chinese
companies are already expanding their footprints outside of Europe.
Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy have recently opened regional
offices in Canada and Australia. The Israel Export and International
Cooperation Institute has revealed that Suntech is the biggest
supplier of solar panels to the country. According to Bloomberg New
Energy Finance, the world witnessed a 24% increase in investments in
clean energy in the second quarter of the current year, most of it
coming from the Chinese wind and solar sectors.
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