Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 34

 

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World Cup solar PV contrast is highlighted

One of the highlights of the football's ongoing FIFA 2014 World Cup is the use of solar energy to power the large stadiums.

Four of the host venues, the stadia in Brasilia, Bella Horizonte, Pernambuco and the iconic Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, can produce a combined 5.4 MW of solar energy.

However, in contrast, a new report points out that one-third of the 24 countries competing in the FIFA 2014 World Cup are unable to produce as much solar energy as one of the stadiums they are competing in.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Iran, Ivory Coast and Uruguay all produce less solar power than the 2.5 MW solar capability of the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia. Another World Cup final competitor, Ghana, produces the same amount as the stadium.

The findings come on the back of a new Poor Peoples' Energy Outlook report by British NGO Practical Action. The report, which shows what is needed to end energy poverty, calls for a Total Energy Access approach to delivering energy which targets the home, work and community.

Simon Trace, CEO of Practical Action said, "It is absurd that there has been a greater investment into renewable energy for a single sporting event than in 11 of the countries competing in it. On one hand, the organisers and FIFA are to be congratulated for making a considerable financial investment and making this the greenest World Cup in history.

"However, it is also an indictment of the investment in renewable energy in the developing world that there are ten competing countries that do not even produce as much solar energy as a single World Cup stadium."

For full details of the report visit www.practicalaction.org

EU solar trade row with China rumbles on

It has been claimed that Chinese solar panel makers are in "massive violation" of the trade settlement reached last year between China and the EU.

Lobby group EU ProSun has been a fierce critic of Chinese manufacturers which it says have destroyed Europe's solar panel industry by dumping their products at goods below cost on the European market.

In a new statement, it said it had provided EU authorities with a raft of documents "containing about 1,500 proposals by Chinese solar companies offering prices below the minimum level agreed by the EU Commission and China."

The trade row over solar panels triggered the EU's biggest-ever trade probe covering a market worth some 21 billion euros ($28.5 billion) at its height. An agreement was reached last year on a minimum price agreement, agreeing to a minimum price up to a certain threshold of imports, after which anti-dumping tariffs would apply.

EU ProSun head Milan Nitzschke said "Dumped Chinese solar products continue to flood the EU market, destroying the European industry and jobs. The Commission must act fast to stop these violations and implement sanctions." Full details at www.prosun.org

UK solar PV changes forces re-evaluation of projects

The outcome of proposals for 215 ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) farms in the United Kingdom, with capacities in excess of 5 megawatts (MW), are now being re-evaluated, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

The re-evaluation follows unexpected, proposals from the UK government to adjust incentive mechanisms for ground-mounted solar PV farms beginning in April 2015.

"Ground-mounted solar PV capacity deployed in the UK has exceeded 2 gigawatts during the past two years," said Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz. "While there was no official cap placed on ground-mounted PV solar farms, recent installation rates appear to be well above the levels the government was expecting."

The proposed changes from the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) include restricting Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to new solar PV farms below 5 MW in size, beginning in April 2015. Previously, the U.K. industry assumed ROCs would be available to any size of ground-mounted solar PV farm, until March 2017.

The effect of the change would be to force investors and developers of large-scale solar farms in the UK to shift to the Contracts for Difference scheme, two years earlier than expected. Full report at www.solarbuzz.com

US solar shows impressive growth

The quarterly Solar Market Insight report for Q1 2014 from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says that 74% of all new electricity generating capacity in the US came from solar PV installations during the three month period.

The report highlights that 1,330 MW of solar PV was installed in the first three months of 2014, to give a total 14.8 GW of installed capacity, enough to power 3 million homes. This represented a 79% increase on the same period in 2013 and was the second largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.

In the distributed solar market, Q1 2014 was the first quarter in recent history in which residential PV installations exceeded commercial installations. The report says that, while this is partially due to the rough winter slowing construction activity in the commercial-heavy Northeast, it is also emblematic of an ongoing trend in residential rooftop solar systems. For the full report visit www.seia.org

 

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