Soaring solar demand in Germany leads to unforeseen circumstances in UK

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The fledgling UK market for solar energy, since the first feed-in tariff was introduced in April is struggling to take flight due to the severe lack of high-efficiency PV modules and inverters. It was hoped that the acute shortages would ease after the German FiT changes due July 1 would see a significant slowdown in demand, loosening supply of the required modules and components for the UK market to flourish.

That would now seem to out of the question, according to a new report from market research firm iSuppli. Demand in Germany is set to continue soaring not only in 2010 but actually grow significantly more in 2011.

With similar climate and irradiance conditions as Germany, the UK residential market requires high-performance modules and the most efficient inverters for consumers to maximise their return on investment via the FiT.

Currently, there are many modules certified for the UK that are simply not available. Many of those that can be supplied are priced at a 50% premium and more compared to prices being quoted in the dominant global market of Germany.

A key concern is that multicrystalline modules in the range of 170W are being touted as availability exists, yet rooftop sizes in the UK often dictate that 200W modules and above should be installed for the right ROI.

When high-efficiency (mono- and multicrystalline) modules are available, there is a significant price premium over less-efficient models, pushing out the ROI past 12 years in many cases.

The UK market is severely lacking the high-quality, high-performance modules necessary, and consumers are therefore not being offered the optimal ROI packages.

In a bizarre but troubling development, our sister website, SolarPowerPortal, has discovered that counterfeited modules from Hong Kong have entered the UK. Though there is no threat that these will actually be installed since the modules’ false identity has been found out, there is a real and sinister threat developing in the country that could put off consumers from installing solar.

In even tighter supply are solar inverters, which have been in acute short supply globally since the third quarter of 2009. Although leading inverter manufacturers have boosted production capacity, there is a major downstream shortage of semiconductor components. These shortages are more structural and will take most of this year and perhaps longer to be truly brought back to a manageable supply-and-demand balance.

The problem has been exacerbated by another discovery that some transformerless inverters imported into the UK require secondary earthing, which adds further costs to total system installations.

As reported by Which? there are illegal sales practices and overpriced solar thermal hot water systems being peddled, as consumers are not fully aware of the technology. Many companies in that market are now registered solar energy installers, and the concern is that solar energy will be tarnished with the same brush.

The acute shortages of solar systems are only increasing the threat of poor practices that could damage the fledging UK market irreversibly.

28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.
20 October 2021
Utility-scale solar is evolving, shaped by higher power modules and demand for increasingly lower levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Those trends are also changing project requirements elsewhere, with inverters capable of delivering high power density and power capacity in strong demand. In this webinar, FIMER will detail how its innovative high-power, multi-MPPT string inverter and modular conversion solution can both meet those demands and transform the utility-scale solar sector for the better.

Read Next

September 24, 2021
Independent power producer Catalyze has acquired commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer Sol Alliance, expanding its presence in the northeast of the US and taking on an 80MW project development pipeline in the process.
September 24, 2021
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a US$15 billion package to fund programmes to tackle drought and climate change in the state
PV Tech Premium
September 24, 2021
Concerns have been raised that new measures introduced by Spain’s government to limit windfall profits of renewable energy plants could dent investor confidence and impact the stability of the country’s solar sector.
September 24, 2021
DNV-owned solar monitoring firm GreenPowerMonitor is to integrate Alteso’s solar analytics tech platform into its offering after striking a deal to acquire it.
September 23, 2021
A project that bids to combine up to 20GW of solar PV with the world’s largest energy storage battery and a 4,200km-long subsea power cable has moved a step forward after Indonesian authorities greenlit its proposed transmission cable route.
September 23, 2021
US national residential and C&I solar plant performance assessment company Omnidian has completed a US$33 million Series B raise.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021