quinta-feira, 21 de março de 2013

World's 'Most Attractive' Incentives Will Bump Japan's Solar Status

The Japanese photovoltaic market is set to grow by 120% this year, with more than 5 GW of new capacity expected, according to a new report from IMS Research (part of IHS Inc.). Benefiting from the world's most attractive PV incentive policy, Japan's solar market is currently booming, with installations expected to exceed 1 GW in the first quarter alone, causing it to become the second largest market in 2013.
Japan's PV market currently benefits from a feed-in tariff (FIT) paying up to 42 yen/kWh [0.42€/kWh at today's exchange rate], even though this rate is likely to be reduced by approximately 10% beginning April 1.
"At 42 yen, Japan's FIT is by far the most attractive globally - overly generous, perhaps, which could lead to overheating of the market," explains Ash Sharma, senior director of solar research at IHS.
"And while a 10 percent reduction in tariffs is widely expected by industry players, this will have little effect on both internal rates of return and market demand," Sharma continues. "Furthermore, many systems that have already applied for the higher FIT are able to benefit from this rate of 42 yen, even if they are installed after April 1."
The report reveals that installations are estimated at over 1 GW in the first quarter of 2013 - the final quarter of Japan's fiscal year - and forecast to exceed 5 GW for the whole of 2013. This would see Japan leapfrog ahead of Germany, Italy and the U.S. to become the world's second largest PV market.

Chinese Subsidiary of Suntech Power Declares Bankruptcy

The main subsidiary of Suntech Power, one of the world’s largest makers of solar panels, collapsed into bankruptcy in a remarkable reversal for what had been part of a huge Chinese government effort to dominate renewable energy industries.
Suntech, a centerpiece of the country’s efforts, had grown to 10,000 employees in its hometown, Wuxi, on China’s east coast, and even set up a small factory in Arizona to assemble panels. But a tenfold expansion of Chinese solar panel manufacturing capacity from 2008 to 2012 pushed down the price of solar panels about 75 percent, undermining the economics of the business. (...) The rapid expansion of natural gas production in the United States and a curtailment of subsidies in the European Union also hurt prices, as did the United States’s imposition of import tariffs totaling about 40 percent after an antidumping and antisubsidy investigation last year. The European Union is completing its own trade investigation of Chinese solar panel shipments that could lead to steep tariffs there as well.
After Suntech grew spectacularly, with production that soared year after year on heavy investment, and after Western investors bought up its New York-traded shares and its international debt issues, the company was battered by plummeting prices as the overall manufacturing industry sank.(...) Chinese banks quietly asked a court in Wuxi on Monday to declare the operating subsidiary, Wuxi Suntech, insolvent and begin reorganizing it. The subsidiary notified the court on Wednesday that it did not object to the insolvency petition. Suntech Power, the parent, said that it was not filing for bankruptcy and would continue to honor warranties on the company’s solar panels. The bankruptcy filing is widely expected to lead to a takeover of the Wuxi operations by Wuxi Guolian Development Group, a financial conglomerate controlled by the city government of Wuxi.

More details:
Suntech Defaults On 3% Convertible Notes, Signaling Further Financial Trouble
Chinese Government Considers Reducing Subsidies For Large Solar Projects

quarta-feira, 20 de março de 2013

Masdar launches world’s largest concentrated solar power plant

Saudi Gazette
Abu Dhabi officially opened Sunday the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant covering 2.5 square kilometers (285 football fields) in Madinat Zayed in the Western Region, which cost $600 million to build and will provide electricity to 20,000 homes. The 100-megawatt capacity Shams 1 is “the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant in operation” said Sultan Al-Jaber, the head of Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, which oversees the emirate’s plan to generate seven percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. (...) Masdar now produces 10 percent of the world’s concentrated solar power, Seage said during the official inauguration. The company’s energy portfolio represents 68 percent of renewable energy produced in the Gulf region, where clean energy remains at an infancy stage.
The solar park features long lines of parabolic mirrors spread over an area equivalent to 285 football pitches in the desert of the Western Region, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi. The 192 rows of loops collect heat that drives turbines to generate power that would save 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year, equivalent to taking 15,000 cars off the road. Automatic trucks are deployed to dust the mirrors in this desert location where sand poses a serious challenge to the efficiency of heat collectors. Masdar owns 60 percent of the project, while France’s Total and Spain’s Abengoa Solar own 20 percent each.

segunda-feira, 11 de março de 2013

Universidade de Lisboa vai produzir energia solar

A Universidade de Lisboa (UL) vai começar a produzir energia através do sol. A instituição de ensino superior prepara-se para inaugurar, esta terça-feira, as suas primeiras centrais fotovoltaicas e prevê ter mais de 10.000 painéis solares instalados já em Outubro, o suficiente para abastecer 1.600 famílias.

Em declarações à Lusa, Márcia Vila, diretora do serviço de sustentabilidade do campus universitário, revelou que os painéis já estão instalados nas coberturas dos edifícios abrangidos pela primeira parte do projeto e em fase de ligação.
Na terça-feira será feita uma apresentação pública do projeto de minigeração de energia e da eficiência energética dos edifícios da UL, sendo que esta iniciativa está a ser desenvolvida em parceria com a Galp, sem custos para a universidade e com partilha das receitas obtidas com a venda de energia elétrica à rede.
A universidade conta com mais de 30 edifícios e o objetivo do projeto é abranger o máximo possível, para que todas as unidades orgânicas (faculdades e refeitórios) tenham uma central fotovoltaica instalada, referiu Márcia Vila.

Atualmente, está a ser efetuada a ligação de quatro unidades de produção de eletricidade. Os painéis fotovoltaicos (os primeiros 2.627) estão a ser colocados nas coberturas dos edifícios, nos parques de estacionamento e nas áreas de lazer.
Os equipamentos, instalados nos edifícios da Faculdade de Ciências, na Faculdade de Psicologia e Instituto de Educação e no Refeitório 1 vão produzir cerca de 1.028 Gwh de energia renovável por ano, "evitando assim a emissão anual de 12.106 toneladas de dióxido de carbono (CO2)", pode ler-se num documento divulgado pela UL e citado pela Lusa.
O projeto beneficia da "excelente orientação de alguns edifícios" a Sul e de outros já construídos para este fim, nomeadamente na Faculdade de Ciências. "Foram fatores decisivos para a existência de painéis solares fotovoltaicos, facilitando o melhor aproveitamento das coberturas", explica ainda a UL, que reclama o desenvolvimento de um projeto pioneiro a nível universitário em Portugal.
Segundo a instituição universitária, trata-se de um dos maiores projetos de energia elétrica a partir de fontes renováveis na cidade e nas instituições de ensino superior em Portugal. Além disso, o facto de ser instalado na própria universidade permite que o projeto seja estudado no local por recursos existentes na Academia.

First Solar offers to recycle Abound's abandoned panels

The Denver Post
[First Solar, the] competitor to bankrupt Abound Solar says it would gladly recycle about 100,000 of the company's discarded panels. Colorado officials recently ordered Abound to clean up the waste. First Solar in Tempe, Ariz., said it has approached its one-time opponent and the trustee overseeing Abound's bankruptcy case with the offer to recover materials from the solar panels. "We've reached out to see if our recycling facilities can get their modules," said Alan Bernheimer, public relations director for First Solar's Americas division.
The offer as-yet has no parameters or money attached, details Bernheimer said are still being worked out.
Colorado health and environment officials in January ordered Loveland-based Abound to clean up hazardous waste at four Front Range locations, citing thousands of "unsellable" solar panels and thousands of gallons of toxic liquids. The panels contain cadmium telluride, of which cadmium is considered a toxic substance and a known carcinogen by federal health agencies. U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee Adam Singer estimated the cost of the whole cleanup to be $2.2 million.

China Drives Record Solar Growth Becoming Biggest Market

The $77 billion solar-energy industry is forecast to expand the most since 2011, as China becomes the biggest market for the first time and drives annual global installations to a record.
New generation capacity will rise about 14 percent this year to 34.1 gigawatts, equal to about eight atomic reactors, according to the average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That would beat the 4.4 percent growth in 2012, when demand shrank in Italy and France after subsidies were cut.
China, after building scores of factories that helped cut panel prices 20 percent in the past year, is poised to become the biggest consumer of the devices after doubling its 2013 target for new projects in January.

Update on EU-China solar trade war

EU orders registration of solar PV imports from China
On March 5th, 2013 the European Commission ordered registration of imported Chinese solar photovoltaic (PV) products, in anticipation of potential anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
This order applies to silicon wafers and PV cells and modules, which must be registered at customs. A preliminary decision on the anti-dumping case will be made in June 2013, and may be retroactive to March 2013.

EC opens anti-dumping investigation of solar glass imports from ChinaOn February 28th, 2013 the European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar glass from China, prompted by a complaint from trade group EU ProSun Glass.
The investigation could take up to 15 months, however the EC could impose provisional anti-dumping duties as soon as December 2013 if it finds them necessary. The EC notes that this is a separate investigation from its anti-dumping and CVD investigations of Chinese PV exports.

China urges EU to properly handle solar panel friction
Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming Friday urged politicians and entrepreneurs of the European Union to properly handle the solar panel friction with China to avoid greater losses for both sides.
"We hope to address the dispute through negotiations between Chinese and European companies and boost our industrial cooperation and seek third-party markets," Chen told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
"We are still negotiating a solution and should join our hands to tide through the difficult times for exploring greater market shares," Chen said.