Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 53

 

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China moves to top of solar PV capacity league

China's continued rollout of solar PV panels has taken it to first place in the global solar race, ahead of previous world leader Germany.

Installed solar capacity stood at 43GW by the end of 2015, according to China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) figures, with around 15GW new capacity installed during 2015.

China's National Energy Administration (NEA) predicts that the country's PV power capacity will hit 150GW by 2020, the agency reported.

Meanwhile, Germany's solar capacity now stands at around 40GW, according to data from the Federal Network Agency and Fraunhofer ISE.

The new Chinese figures match estimates released on Monday by industry body PV Market Alliance, which also showed Japan had recorded around 10GW of new installations - up from 9GW in 2014.

Elsewhere in the world, new solar capacity in the US grew from around 6GW in 2014 to 9.8GW in 2015 - a rise of more than 50 per cent, the PV Market Alliance said.

The European solar market also took a turn for the better: after three years of declining installations, new capacity rose from 7GW in 2014 to around 8.5GW in 2015, according to PV Market Alliance. The UK and Germany continued to, drive the market, installing 4GW and 1.4GW respectively. Full details of the news report are here

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UK solar still a good investment says STA

With UK homeowners facing new and reduced feed-in tariffs, the Solar Trade Association says that solar remains a good investment for the average household.

The reduced solar FIT for UK residential customers came into effect in mid-January, with any homeowner deciding to install a rooftop solar array receiving a rate of 4.39p/kWh for their system when the scheme is 'unpaused' on February 8.

Despite this 64% cut on the previous rate for systems of 4kW and under, solar in the UK can still represent a good investment for householders, says the Solar Trade Association (STA).

According to the STA, the new FIT rate will deliver a tax-free return of investment of around 5% provided homeowners install a competitively priced solar array. Compared to savings accounts – bedeviled by record low interest rates – solar represents an attractive investment that could be paid off fully in 13 years through intelligent use of their system.

"Let’s be clear, solar is still a good investment for householders and an essential investment for the planet," said STA CEO Paul Barwell. "Costs have come down so fast that solar is much more affordable today than five years ago – around half the price of a new car.

“There has never been a greater need to go solar because acting on climate change is more urgent than ever. Solar will save on your energy bills, and potentially add value to your home." Full details here

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China continues green energy roll out

China's ambitious renewables energy rollout pushed the global renewables industry past its latest milestone last year, as global installed capacity hit a record 913.5GW, according to new data released this week by research firm GlobalData.

The country installed more biopower, small hydropower and onshore wind than any other in 2015, and retained its title as the leading installer of solar power for the second year running, said Ankit Mathur, GlobalData's Practice Head for Power.

"China became the largest consumer of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in 2014, overtaking both Japan and the US," he explained in a statement. "China's annual solar PV installations have grown rapidly over the past few years, from 500MW in 2010, to 10.6GW in 2014, and an estimated 18.43GW in 2015."

As part of its emissions reductions strategy, China plans to have installed 150GW of solar PV capacity by 2020 further cementing its position as the world's largest renewables market.

Mathur added that China was closely followed in the solar race by Japan and the US, with both countries adding an estimated 8.2GW each of solar power in 2015. More at www.energy.globaldata.com

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EU extends import trade duties to Malaysia and Taiwan

The European Commission (EC) has announced further import duties on solar panel imports from Asia.

Following an investigation launched in 2015 into whether Chinese manufacturers had been circumventing European anti-dumping duties by shipping product via Malaysia and Taiwan, the EC has found that some companies were involved in this practice.

As a result, anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of 53.4% and 11.5% respectively have been imposed on PV modules from Malaysian and Taiwanese firms found to have been enabling Chinese sources to circumvent other duties.

In addition, import duty payments on modules found to have been non-compliant with EU trade requirements will be backdated to May 2015 when the investigation was launched. European solar PV importers will be invoiced for the funds, regardless of whether or not they were aware that the products they purchased were in fact of Chinese origin.

A full news report on the new EU trade measures is available here.

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US ITC extension for solar PV projects

The USA has announced an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) – the main driver of solar growth in the United States.

The unexpected decision to implement a five year extension will relieve the US solar industry of the pressure to complete its residential and commercial solar power project in 2016. Under the terms of the recent proposal, the ITC will be extended from December 31st, 2016 and will instead be stepped down from 30% to 10% until 2024.

PV projects that start construction by 2019 will receive the current 30% ITC, while projects that begin construction in 2020 and 2021 will receive 26% and 22% respectively. All projects must be completed by 2024 to obtain these elevated ITC rates.

For residential PV systems, a similar tax credit phase-out applies until December 31st, 2021, after which the tax credit scheme ends.

According to GTM Research, the ITC extension will foster a $40 billion in incremental investment in solar between 2016 and 2020. Full details are provided here.