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Markets of Asia Pacific poised to contribute significantly to global photovoltaics growth on policy improvements

Markets of Asia Pacific poised to contribute significantly to global photovoltaics growth on policy improvements

31-Mar-11
In the increasing trend to generate electrical power from renewable sources, solar PV cells were one of the first technologies considered for the conversion of solar energy to usable electrical energy. PV technology initially had to contend with issues such as low conversion efficiency and high initial investment, as per Companies and Markets. However, power output has significantly improved through the development of a new technology involving mirrors/reflectors that focus sunlight falling over a huge area onto a small set of PV cells. CPVs are also often equipped with trackers following the sun's position, so that sun rays directly hit the panel of reflectors and are redirected to the PV cell arrays. As CPV reflectors usually require huge open areas, the technology often has to contend with the issue of water shortage for cooling the CPV cells. Air or the hybrid wet-dry cooling technology enables the use of CPV cells in deserts and isolated places. The CPV cells market is set for high growth with government initiatives in place for the generation of renewable power. The market also holds promise for new entrants as it currently has only a few players.
Asia Pacific photovoltaic markets are poised to make a significant contribution to global photovoltaic (PV) market growth in 2010 following improvements in the policy environment in most of the key countries in this region. According to the Solarbuzz® report, the key emerging country markets of China, India, South Korea and Australia, together with the long established Japanese market, contributed 0.9 GW of installations in 2009, or 12% of world demand. After a policy-led reduction in demand in South Korea last year, all five of these country markets are now expected to return to growth in 2010. Demand across the three countries will be up 85% this year in the mid-case Green World scenario. �Japan is set for very strong growth in 2010 with clearly set out new incentives for photovoltaics,� said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz. �The expectations for China and India remain high. However, their challenge will be to translate their long pipeline of projects, now just on paper, into reality through government incentive policies that are certain and at a level high enough to attract financing.� For the first time in three years, the Japanese market showed a significant increase in 2009. The domestic market more than doubled in 2009 to 477 MW as a result of the re-launch of a nationwide residential incentive program and the introduction of a Japanese version of a Feed-In Tariff (FIT) during the year. The FIT was originally planned to launch from April 2010, but to further accelerate the deployment of the domestic PV market, the government pushed it forward and started the program in November 2009. In addition, as of December 2009, over 400 regional governments (prefecture, city, town or village) offered residential PV support programs, including subsidies and loans as well as utility buy-back schemes and further assistance through utility Green Power Funds. With the help of Solar Rooftops and Golden Sun programs in mid-2009, the PV market in China experienced strong growth, achieving 228 MW in 2009, an impressive 552% yoy growth. The growth was driven by the emergence of a significant on-grid segment, building-mounted and ground-mounted systems supported by specific government programs, with the largest provincial markets being Ningxia and Jiangsu. Specifically, on-grid building-mounted segments rose from a 33% market share in 2008 to 88% in 2009. As of June 2010, a total of 95 listed projects that are under development with National Energy Administration approval totaled 18.6 GW with more tender bids pending. In India, PV market grew 22% yoy, reaching 44 MW in 2009. Despite this, the growth was lower than expected, with incentive programs lacking success. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) released its National Solar Mission, outlining planned growth of the PV market to 20-22 GW by 2022. While the global financial crisis had a moderate affect upon government funds allocation, national elections during 2010 slowed several government bureaus to a halt, delaying procurement and distribution activities until later in the year. Nonetheless, the project pipeline stands at 4.9 GW at June 2010. South Korea�s PV market decreased in size by 65% falling from 276 MW in 2008 to just 98 MW in 2009. With over half of the aggregate 500 MW program cap reserved in just the first few months of launch for a program initially designed to ramp up steadily through 2011, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) was forced to establish an annual installation cap. This caused the collapse in installations. Additionally, in September 2009 the FIT rates were adjusted downward for the 2010-2011 period to reflect falling module prices and encourage greater numbers of smaller, building-mounted systems. Consumer demand in the residential sector drove Australia�s PV market in 2009, growing 222% Y/Y to 74 MW. Specifically 80% of all capacity installed was for on-grid residential use. As the majority of Australia�s electricity is produced with cheap coal, PV market growth in recent years was steady, rather than explosive. The Australia government revised its Solar Flagships program�aiming to commission 150 MW of PV power by 2015. In addition, every region has, or will have, a PV-specific FIT or net-metering policy in 2010.
Worldwide solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 18.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2010. This represents growth of 139% over the previous year, according to the annual PV market report by Solarbuzz. The PV industry generated US$82 bln in global revenues in 2010, up 105% yoy from US$40 bln in 2009. Companies throughout the PV chain successfully raised over US$10 billion in equity and debt over the last 12 months. In 2010, the top five countries by PV market size were Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Japan and the United States-representing over 80% of global demand. European countries represented 14.7 GW, or 81% of world demand in 2010. The top three countries in Europe were Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic, which collectively totaled 12.9 GW. In 2010, the Japanese and US markets grew by 101% and 96%, respectively. In all, over 100 countries made some contribution to soaring global PV demand last year. Worldwide solar cell production reached 20.5 GW in 2010, up from 9.86 GW a year earlier, with thin film production accounting for 13.5% of total production. Producers in China and Taiwan continued to build share, and now account for 59% of global cell production, up from 49% last year. The top two cell manufacturers in 2010 were Suntech Power and JA Solar, who tied for the first position, followed closely by First Solar. The Top 8 polysilicon manufacturers had 145,200 tpa of capacity in 2010, while the Top 8 wafer manufacturers accounted for 45% of global wafer supply. The excess of production over market demand caused crystalline silicon factory gate module prices to drop 14% in 2010, significantly less than the 38% reduction of the previous year. By 2015, Solarbuzz projects the European market share to fall to between 45-54% as North America and several Asian markets grow rapidly. The US will be the fastest growing major country market over this period. Over the next five years, factory gate module prices are projected to drop between 37% and 50% from 2010 levels. In the short term, assumptions about the immediate policy environment remain critical to outcomes over the next 24 months. �The industry has now entered a phase of tightening incentive terms across important European markets. Cuts in unit tariffs will be far more rapid than the industry�s pace of cost reduction. While some key markets will decline in size as a result over the next two years, the US, Canada, China, and Japan are some of the major countries that still offer growth potential. In addition, the rush to beat mid-year tariff reductions will ensure strong first half 2011 demand performance in Italy and Germany. Stevens added, �Planned manufacturing capacity expansions will ensure the industry has adequate cell supplies over 2011 and 2012. However, the potential for excess supply taken together with already planned subsidy cuts will make both years challenging for the industry.�
 
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