Market Watch

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Germany and Italy are forecasted to drive solar demand to new highs in 2011, with rumours of installations up to 22GW on the cards for this year. The German and Italian markets, scheduled to peak in 2011 and 2012, respectively, face a potential problem in terms of where to sell their modules if these two countries cannot accommodate 10GW of installations per year. The emerging markets can solve part of this challenge and will deliver new opportunities to the solar industry. Some Asian, European and Middle Eastern regions will require up to of 6GW of solar-generated electricity, while the Americas, Africa and Australia are each projected to install approximately 1GW in 2014. This paper takes a look at the development of these emerging markets and provides a projection of likely installation figures up to 2015.
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The U.S. solar PV market is suffering not from a lack of demand or high prices, but rather from an inconsistent labyrinth of rules and regulations which complicate and prolong uptake. There is significant pent-up demand in the U.S. among developers and especially manufacturers; there is not, however, a commensurate regulatory framework that will enable and encourage this demand to be realized. The U.S. political landscape is deeply divided, and policies that would directly or indirectly effect solar demand are no different from any other in this regard.
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Mainland France’s photovoltaics market is substantially different from the situation in the country’s overseas Départements (DOM) and Corsica. Feed-in tariffs, tax breaks, financing and market players all differ in these territories. This paper takes a look at France’s mainland market, providing a projection for the country’s future market and some resources for more information on the DOM and Corsican markets [1].
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The upper and lower houses of the German parliament took their time finding a compromise on the degression of PV tariffs. Cutbacks were finally decided on at the start of July. The German PV market is now headed for another record-breaking year in 2010 despite or maybe even as a result of these reductions. EuPD Research, the market research institute, is making a conservative projection of approximately 5.5GW in newly-installed capacity. Nevertheless, pressure is set to increase, particularly on German solar companies. New marketing strategies have to be developed in the mid-term in order to survive and explore new segments in the long term.
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The French Ministry for the Environment, Ecology, Sustainable Development and Sea (MEEDDM) officially published a new decree concerning photovoltaic electricity generation and feed-in tariffs (FiT) on January 12th 2010. This was followed by a second decree, published on March 16th 2010, which contained some additional information and revisions to the first. This paper outlines the effects the revisions will have on France’s solar industry and provides guidelines for future developments in the country.
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On April 1st 2010, the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) officially launched its renewable energy policy. The document includes the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC EES), designed to improve public and private sector organizations’ energy efficiency; and the generous feed-in tariff (FiT) incentive, which pays 41.3p/kWh of solar photovoltaic energy generated. This article will look at the expectations for the UK solar photovoltaics market following the government’s policy launch. The paper will focus on the impact of the UK’s late arrival to the renewable energy market; why the FiT is so incremental for successful growth; what the expectations are for the development of the UK solar PV market as well as an investigation into whether the UK is really ready for this level of change.
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The uttermost importance of the regulation framework to trigger the development of a PV market has been recognized these last years in many European countries. For policymakers today one of the key questions is making the best choice to initiate and stimulate PV markets. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, EPIA has launched the PV Observatory initiative. It aims at analyzing the current state of regulatory frameworks in a set of countries, starting with the main European PV markets.
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Solar currently represents less than 0.5% of global electricity generation. However, as renewable electricity gains importance in the US$1 trillion global electricity market, we forecast solar photovoltaic shipments to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 50% for the next four years. We expect an increasing number of countries to promote solar energy as the cost gap between solar and fossil fuel-generated electricity closes. This paper provides an overview of what to expect from the PV market in 2010.
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An improved understanding of multicrystalline wafer quality can explain variations in cell performance across multicrystalline silicon blocks. Infrared scanning can detect precipitates in a silicon block, while photoluminescence combined with defect etching can reveal needle-like precipitates along the grain boundaries. Such precipitates typically lead to reduced shunt resistance. Crystallographic defects that lower the current collection and the final cell efficiency can also be identified. Understanding the influence of these defects is important for the development of a crystallization technology that results in a substantially better cell efficiency. The use of the improved material quality in an innovative cell and module technology have led to the world record module efficiency of 17%. This paper will illustrate one example of how an improved understanding of multicrystalline wafer quality can explain the variations in cell performance.
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This article will look at what trends can be gleaned from patent application publication figures of the past decade in the sector of PV technology. The study looks at the number of patent applications in PV technology published worldwide between 1999 and 2008. The data will show in which regions and countries patent protection is being sought. The figures are taken from patent documentation databases developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and Japan Patent Office or databases used worldwide and available at the EPO, and they are retrieved mostly using patent classification schemes. The article also provides a brief overview of the role of the EPO and what companies, researchers and individual inventors should keep in mind when applying for a European patent.

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