The pv magazine weekly news digest

New year, same old weekly round-up of all the week’s biggest news in solar, here we go again…

The analysts at IHS have been gazing into their crystal ball to make some attention-grabbing solar predictions for 2015.

It’s mostly good news say the number-crunchers who are predicting, among other things, PV demand worldwide to rise 25 per cent as installations reach 55 GW with China, Japan and the U.S. leading the way.

China will fall short of its plan to put a panel on everything that moves but will still muster 4.7 GW of distributed generation and grid connected PV storage installations will treble, to 775 MW.

Among the world’s emerging markets, Chile will emulate South Africa by reaching the 1 GW mark and Jordan, the Philippines and Honduras will be flying.

Systems of 100 kW or less will account for 30 per cent of global installations – almost 70 per cent in Japan – with the U.S. installing 2.2 GW of DG and California, with more than 10 per cent of its power from solar, will be the poster boy for solar worldwide.

The only fly in the ointment is IHS’ prediction the UK will lead the European utility scale market, with 1.4 GW installed, before seizing up by summer as its incentive regime changes.

IHS was unable to tell me who would win the Melbourne Cup, whether the Packers would get their act together in the Super Bowl or whether Lye Town FC’s impressive first season in the Midland Football League would end in an unlikely second successive title but apparently it will snow on Thursday.

US public turns back on nuclear

Harvard political scientist Stephen Ansolabehere’s 12-year study into U.S. attitudes to renewables turned up some surprising results, not least a widespread lack of support for nuclear power.

With public opinion much more favorable to renewables than fossil fuels, it’s all heartening news for the renewables brigade, right?

The average Joe even declared a willingness to dip into their pocket to fight climate change… to the extent of $5 per year, although that tight-fistedness may be partly explained by the widespread belief solar and wind are much cheaper forms of generation than they actually are – an indication the pro-renewables PR machine has been overzealous in its public messages, perhaps.

And before us Euro types get on our high horses about our gas-guzzling cousins across The Pond, Prof Ansolabehere also tapped up taxpayers in Sweden, France and Germany, as well as Japan and Canada, and found they were similarly unwilling to fork out to prevent the world becoming a dead, burnt-out husk.

Big win for Chinese manufacturers

It’s not often you see the phrases ‘U.S. Department of Commerce findings’ and ‘Chinese manufacturers cock-a-hoop’ in the same sentence but that (almost) happened this week as the department published its reviewed anti dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) decision on 2013 imports.

Having shown an utter lack of festive goodwill in slapping steepling 31 per cent duties on Chinese modules featuring non-Chinese cells sold into the U.S. in its decision on December 16, the department reduced the combined figure to around 15 per cent for all-Chinese products.

That was hailed as a big win for all the big Chinese players by GTM Research senior VP Shayle Kann but there is a caveat because the period in question saw a relatively small amount of Chinese imports to the States. With a New World solar gold rush restarting again last year, those troublesome scamps at Solar World America will be pinning their punitive hopes on a similar review of the 2014 market, anticipated within a year or so.

Companies hung up on blacklisting

The Indian ministry of new and renewable energy announced this week it had blacklisted two solar companies for their tardiness in completing projects they had won the tender for.

HBL Power was named and shamed for not completing project tenders, along with Veddis Solars. Turan Singh, CEO of the latter has cried foul, however, and vowed to fight the blacklisting through the courts.

He insisted the decision related to an overdue project in Uttar Pradesh for which his company was punished while two tender partners were awarded an extension by unspecified ‘vested interests’.

Undaunted, pv magazine‘s intrepid reporter Peter Carvill managed to track down one of the partner companies named – Easy Photovoltech – only for them to hang up when he inquired about the project. How rude.

A solar spring?

There was encouraging news at least from Egypt this week as the results of a national renewable energy auction appeared to indicate investors are not deterred by the deep secular-Muslim divisions afflicting the country.

According to Mohamed El Sobki, of the nation’s New and Renewable Energy Association, some 67 companies have been selected to generate 4.3 GW of power from solar PV, solar thermal and wind in the country.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – the former head of the nation’s armed forces responsible for toppling the short-lived democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohammed Morsi – has previously announced Egypt will need $12 billion of investment to meet its energy needs over the next five years.