Taiwan plans focus on rooftop PV installations

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Taiwan is set to prioritise domestic and industrial rooftop installations in order to increase solar capacity to 3.1GW by 2030, the country’s Ministry for Economic Affairs has announced.

An announcement said that solar energy has grown from 9.5MW to 222.4MW since the country’s Renewable Energy Development Act in 2009.

The solar strategy was part of a wider statement of intent from the ministry’s Bureau of Energy to increase renewable energy to 18% of Taiwan’s power capacity by 2025.

The statement said: “Considering the solar energy cost still not a match to conventional fossil fuel and the availability of land, the best strategic implementation for solar energy is to expand at a moderate rate, prioritize to the solar rooftops for residential and industrial applications in near term, strategy to speed up gradually in long term to 3.1GW in 2030.”

In contrast to the rapid expansion of solar capacity since 2009, the ministry said that wind energy, had only seen 17.5% growth, suggesting “that the onshore wind energy development might have reached a saturation point”.

Figures released by the ministry showed that, in the first four months of 2013, Taiwan only added 10MW of PV capacity, compared to 104.5MW during the whole of 2012.

The bureau has twice this year raised the country’s solar target for 2013, which currently stands at 175MW.

The 2009 Act guarantees a purchase price for 20 years for the purchase of electricity generated from renewable sources, in order to incentivise installations through a feed-in-tariff.

But the bureau admitted that there was some scepticism about the reliability of solar power, which it said has only a 14% capacity credit, compared to 28% for onshore wind and 38% for offshore wind.

It said: “Increasing renewable energy penetration in (an) isolated power grid feeds the fear of power failures and instability, along with high generation costs of solar PV, offshore wind, geothermal, and ocean energies, driving up consumers' utility bills and compromising service quality.”

In a separate announcement, the bureau said that the 2013 PV bidding process has successfully achieved its target of securing 90MW of capacity.

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