When final numbers are counted for capital equipment suppliers to the PV industry for 2012, the data will reveal a somewhat misleading picture. And one that was certainly not on the radar of any PV equipment supplier just 12 months ago.
Company executives and analysts alike face a number of difficulties in answering this very important question. To reach the answer requires strong fundamentals in solar PV economics. This, however, is unfortunately not enough. The data necessary to answer the question are difficult to collect and even more difficult to structure and maintain. Further, the data are highly dynamic: US incentives change in structure, decrease or expire and electricity prices change in both magnitude and composition. All of these variables affect a market’s attractiveness, which itself can change substantially over time.
By 2016, the federal 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the California Solar Initiative (CSI), the nation’s largest ratepayer funded program, will have expired. A key question lingering until then will be: “Can the US PV industry be weaned off government subsidies and therefore become self-sustaining?”
The successful deployment of renewable energy, including solar, is critical for America’s future energy supply. Recently, a lease financing mechanism has been one of the most powerful drivers of solar power deployment in the US. Though solar leases have helped grow the industry, the authors contend that they come at an inflated and higher than intended cost to the US taxpayer compared to cash purchases. Further, if these inflated taxpayer costs become politicized, the industry may suffer another setback.
The Battle of Balaclava in 1854 between the Russian and British-Turkish forces in the Crimean War was notorious for heavy British casualties caused by miscommunication between the commander-in-chief and the cavalry commanders, in which the brigade attempted a much more difficult objective than originally intended.
Installed PV system pricing, customer segmentation, application-type segmentation and overall market growth are beginning to show significant differences across major Asia Pacific (APAC) markets. This differentiation can often be linked directly to the dominance (or lack thereof) of major module manufacturers within the various APAC countries.
For leading c-Si manufacturers, three issues have been influencing $/W cost metrics during the past couple of years: blended silicon cost, non-silicon process cost, and cell efficiency/module power.
The following article comments on the ongoing discussion of the grid parity issue. Although considerable movement can be observed in how PV is thought of in the industry, this article aims to point out the consequences of the necessary transition from incentive to non-incentive markets.
To understand the potential impact of the preliminary US Department of Commerce ruling regarding import duties for c-Si modules that contain c-Si cells manufactured within China, it is necessary to clarify what the US market represents to leading tier 1 Chinese c-Si module suppliers (in absolute terms), as well as relative to the overall (global) market.
The industry has now had a chance to take stock of the US Department of Commerce’s announcement that it will impose an import tariff on PV cells, or PV modules that contain cells, manufactured in China. The preliminary findings of the anti-dumping case, which was initiated in October 2011 when a group of PV manufacturers, led by Germany’s SolarWorld, filed a trade complaint, revealed that a tariff of approximately 31% would be levied against a specified group of the largest Chinese cell manufacturers and a rate of 249% against all other Chinese manufacturers. This was in addition to March’s introduction of less severe countervailing duties to negate the allegedly unfair subsidies that Chinese suppliers benefit from.