Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 41

This issue covers:

EU risks revival of China solar PV dispute

The European Union (EU) is risking a renewed dispute with China over solar panel supplies by confirming it had launched a fresh trade probe into solar glass used in the manufacture of the panels.

It has been reported that the EU trade authorities have begun an investigation into alleged price dumping of solar glass by China and now has nine months to gather information on the case and decide whether to move forward with an official complaint.

The move follows EU manufacturers’ claims that illegally low pricing by China of solar glass is costing European jobs.

Ulrich Frei, president of the EU ProSun lobby group that spearheaded the original campaign against the Chinese solar panel industry, said: “The prices are absurdly low and are under the manufacturing costs, even when (import) duties are included.”

A 2013 trade row over solar panels sparked the EU's biggest-ever trade probe covering a market worth some 21 billion euros ($25 billion) at its zenith. The matter ended last July with an agreement between Brussels and China.

www.channelnewsasia.com

Solarlink test kit aids PV system installation

A specialist solar PV test kit from Seaward Solar enables contractors to meet international electrical commissioning and system safety requirements quickly, thoroughly and effectively.

The new Solarlink Test Kit includes all the necessary test equipment and datalogging capabilities to perform pre-installation site surveys and measure the electrical safety and performance of PV systems in line with BS EN 62446.

The kit combines the comprehensive electrical commissioning test capabilities of the PV150 solar installation handheld tester with the advanced Solar Survey 200R multifunction PV survey meter.

Special wireless Solarlink connectivity between the two instruments enables real-time irradiance to be displayed and measured at the same time as electrical testing is being undertaken. This means that irradiance, module and ambient temperature can be recorded in real time within the PV150 as the electrical tests are conducted.

Once testing is completed, the USB download of time and date stamped test results, irradiance and temperature measurements provides full traceability and speeds up the completion of PV system documentation and customer handover packs.

As well as the PV150 and the Solar Survey 200R and associated calibration certificates, the comprehensive kit includes an AC/DC current clamp, MC4 test lead adaptors and test probes – with a quick start instruction guide and video.

PV150 PV Testing Kit

Calls for more help for Scottish solar PV

With Scotland installing over 30% more solar PV capacity in 2014 than 2013, calls have been made for more to be done to encourage greater uptake.

Installation growth during 2014 means Scotland now has a total of 140MW of solar PV, an increase of 34MW from 2013, with 35,000 Scottish homes and 600 businesses now benefitting from solar PV.

Commenting on Scotland’s solar performance, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “The total installed solar capacity may be small when compared to wind energy, but together these solar panels are helping to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging emissions being emitted every year.

“Alongside energy saving measures, renewable energy technologies like solar and wind will be important in enabling Scotland meet its climate change targets. We call upon the Scottish government to do all that it can to help ensure Scotland switches on to the full potential of solar power.”

The call was echoed by the Solar Trade Association which said it would like to see Scotland fully share in the many benefits solar can provide. Leonie Green of the STA said: “The Scottish government has provided world class leadership on renewable energy so we urge them to throw their weight behind solar too.

“No other energy technology has delivered the scale of cost reductions seen in solar and no other technology has empowered such vast numbers of everyday people to take control of their power supply. It is vital to retain this momentum.”

Full story at www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/

Asia Pacific solar PV market heads for record levels

When final figures are revealed, the last quarter 2014 solar PV demand in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is forecast to reach the 10 gigawatt (GW) level for the first time.

According to the latest Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly report, annual APAC PV demand through 2014 was forecast to have grown 19 percent over the previous year, driven mainly by a year-end installation rush in China, as well as strong growth in Japan.

Overall, the APAC PV demand is forecast to continue growing and maintain its share in the global PV market at over 50 percent level in 2015. China contributed most demand in the APAC PV market in Q4 2014, with ground-mount projects still dominating the market.

PV demand in Japan is expected to have grown 46 percent year-over-year in 2014 and proposals have been made for many ambitious new solar PV development plans.

In Australia, the new Renewable Energy Target (RET) is still under negotiation, while residential installations are expected to have driven PV demand in Q4 2014 to their highest level.

The report also says that Thailand and the emerging APAC PV markets are also showing growth potential, in the coming years. The ground-mount segment is forecast to increase its market share in emerging markets, as large projects are currently planned in the Philippines, Pakistan and other countries.

Full story at www.solardaily.com.

New solar PV trade group

The UK Renewable Energy Association (REA) has launched two new trade groups to represent the solar and storage industries respectively.

UK Solar and UK Energy Storage will begin work immediately with the REA’s existing members. “Solar power is one of the first major renewable energy technologies set to compete with traditional energy sources without subsidy,” said Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, REA.

“The integration of solar as a major player in the UK energy mix will transform the power market. Businesses, households and the public sector will see their energy bills reduced. It is the mission of UK Solar to support and drive the transition to this solar future,” she said. While less developed than the solar industry, the REA said energy storage offered huge potential to stabilise the country’s energy system during its decarbonisation. Details at www.r-e-a.net/