Asia’s solar industry leaders exchange views at APEC workshop

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Leading solar product safety testing and certification organization, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) offered proactive advice on industry technologies and trade development at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Workshop in Taipei on October 12, 2011. UL said PV reliability and durability would be the key to further develop Asia-Pacific's booming green energy industry.

UL suggested that Asia-Pacific countries reach a consensus about solar product safety certification standards for governments to enact national and local regulations and for manufacturers, sellers, consumers, insurers and relevant standard certification institutions to follow. Only when the' reliability and durability of solar products are prioritized, to ensure product quality and safety, can the industry pursue sustainable development.

In recent years, UL has set up solar PV labs in the US, China, Germany, Japan and India. Moreover, it has actively engaged in research and development of PV products' accelerated aging tests in hopes of seeking the industry's recognition on product safety and durability.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The workshop, part of APEC’s Solar Technology and Conformance Initiative meetings held in San Francisco in September, brought together solar energy leaders from across Asia to discuss the solar market's future development.

APEC's 21 member economies account for over 40% of the world's population and the region's economy grows at a rate faster than the world's average. It is home to major solar energy manufacturing bases including China, Taiwan, Japan and India, reporting strong solar manufacturing capacity.

According to the latest market research conducted by Solarbuzz, the Asia-Pacific region's PV manufacturing capacity will contribute to 25% of world demand in 2015, up from 11% in 2010, indicating a fast-expanding market with great potential in the region. However, as the global market demand is rapidly rising, product quality concerns and trade barriers erected by inconsistent standards adopted in different markets pose challenges.

As a result, how to effectively integrate the region's technology while reducing costs at the same time and improve the solar industry's corporate cost structure has become the priority for the region's green energy development.

Attendants to the workshop included representatives from trade facilitators, such as Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs and the US Department of Commerce, as well as PV-related institutions and organizations, including UL, Japan Electrical Safety and Environment Technology Laboratories (JET), Thailand's CES Solar Cell Testing Center, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) and Korea Photovoltaic Industry Association (KOPIA).

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