Once again, the EU stands in the solar photovoltaic, remaining the first electrical industry in terms of newly installed capacity
Indeed, during 2011, 21528.9 MWp solar photovoltaic power plants have been connected, bringing the total capacity of the park of the European Union to 51357.4 MWp. According to the agency EurObserv'ER, it is more than double the power of new wind power plants amounting to 9,368 MW. The European Union remains the main installation area and represents 74% of the power newly connected PV capacity installed worldwide (69 GWp in 2011). The photovoltaic power generation has doubled in 2011 compared to 2010: 44.8 TWh (22.6 TWh in 2010). Growth of the photovoltaic market has overtaken the government, despite the implementation of incentive systems increasingly complex expected to take into account the market dynamics. But no government had expected that the price of photovoltaic modules will fall again, and so quickly. One can even speak of dizzying declines. This price decline much more rapidly than tariff led to a new race in the field of facilities, investors seeking to exploit the differential between the purchase prices and the actual cost per kWh solar. In Germany, it is finally depleted stocks during the month of December which put an end to speculation.
Outside Europe, the most active market is in China. According to China Electricity Council, the power connected to the network during 2011 would have reached 2140 MWp against a power of about 500 MWp in 2010. According to statistics from the National Energy Bureau of China, the installed capacity during 2011 would have reached the 3 GWp. This would mean that 29% of installed capacity in 2011 was waiting to be connected. This level of growth has partly been made possible by the introduction in August 2011 of the first national photovoltaic feed-in tariff set at 1.15 CNY per kWh (14 c € / kWh), thus taking the different rates established in Chinese provinces.The rise of the Chinese market is expected to accelerate in the coming years.For 2012, two major Chinese module manufacturers, Suntech and Trina Solar, expect a level installation order from April to May GWp. The medium-term objective, set by the National Energy Administration, was evaluated twice in 2011. It is now set at 15 GWp by 2015, which corresponds to a production of around 20 TWh. According to several non-governmental sources, the country has more than 45 GWp projects.
The U.S. market has, according to the American Association of Solar Industry (SEIA), reached a record level of 1855 MWp in 2011, an increase of 108% compared to 2010. SEIA explains this enthusiasm by the conjunction of three factors: declining prices of photovoltaic systems wich have lost 20% on average, an increase of plant size, and the expiration of the grant program of the Department of U.S. Treasury USA the 31th of December 2011.
In Japan also, the installed capacity during 2011 has surpassed the GWp with, according to the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, 1296 MWp (86% for residential). In this country, the new feed-in tariff introduced in November 2009 for residential only covers the excess electricity not consumed by individual, which has parallel subsidy for facilities. The government says this system is beneficial because it reduces the electricity consumption of households seeking to promote the resale. As for non-residential sector, it no longer benefits from 2011 to investment aid, but the resale price of electricity not consumed was increased from 16 yen / kWh (about 15 cents) to 40 Yen / kWh (about 35 cents) for systems with less than 500 kWp. A tariff is also expected for very large plants (> 500 kWp), from July 2012.
The decrease in the price of photovoltaic systems has also helped open new markets with high potential. Australia would thus, according to the EPIA (European Association for the photovoltaic industry), added 700 MWp in 2011, Canada and India 300 MWp each, and Ukraine 140 MWp.
According to Photon International magazine, the average price of monocrystalline modules decreased from 1.44 € watt early January 2011 to € 0.82 a watt in January 2012, a decrease of 43.1%. The average price of polycrystalline modules has meanwhile decreased from € 1.47 a watt in early January 2011 to 0.81 € watt in January 2012, a decrease of 44.9%. These prices are as average prices, which means that modules "unbranded" were acquired at € 0.70 a watt, the price of "mark branded" modules is around € 0.90 a watt. Consequently, the price of photovoltaic systems is also in freefall.
The price index of the German Solar Industry (BSW-Solar), which takes as reference the price of installed roof systems under 100 kW (excl. VAT), is at 2082 euros per kWp the 4th quarter of 2011, compared to a price of 2,724 euros per kWp in Q4 2010, a decrease of 23.5% for the systems.
Let's remember that the price of these systems was 4200 euros per kWp in Q4 2008, representing a price halved in three years. These declines were due to the price war in which manufacturers are currently engaged under the impetus of Asian players, and Chinese in particular. These réductions were made possible by the very rapid increase in production capacity (economies of scale), by technological innovations and the decline in the price of silicon. Note that prices in other EU countries are generally higher due to less advanced structuring of their market.
PV = 1.4% of the electricity of the European Union
Solar radiation is now contributing to 1.4% of the electricity production of the Union, a production of around 44.8 TWh in 2011 (+98% compared to 2010). According to the installed capacity at the end of year, the photovoltaic power generation is expected to greatly exceed 60 TWh in 2012, allowing to photovoltaic to approach the 2%. In the most active countries, the use of solar electricity is logically much higher. It is, in 2011, around 3.6% in Italy, 3.1% in Germany and 2.6% in Spain.
Source : Traduced from Enerzine