While China’s PV policy announcement dominated the headlines in Q2 2018, there were a lot of other significant happenings in the world of solar, not least the EU’s 32% renewable energy targets, rumors of U.S. tariffs on inverters, PV records in Germany, and unexpected new partnerships. Read on to discover the highlights from April to June.
Dire warnings about the state of our planet characterized 2018, with a plethora of reports released calling for climate action. The solar PV, and storage, industries have a leading role to play in the required energy transition: this bold quest was taken on by many over the last year, with technological progress and expansion seen upstream and downstream, and in policy, globally. Like last year, China took all by surprise, this time, however, in the form of its abrupt 31/5 policy change, the effects of which are still being felt in almost every corner of every market. And of course, Tesla grabbed the headlines – also for rather more unsavory reasons than in 2017. In this first out of a total of four posts pv magazine reflects on Q1.
The regulations for protected species and the procedure to obtain a derogation are complex and should not be understated by solar PV project developers. The avoidance of the significant risks linked with those regulations requires technical and legal expertise, and support from the very beginning of the development of the project, write lawyers Anouk Darcet-Felfen and Laurence Duriez.
Marking yet another PV investment, Shell has reportedly acquired a 49% stake in Singapore-based Cleantech Solar. There is an option to increase this after 2021.
More predictions from IHS Markit reveal that 123 GW of solar PV installations are expected in 2019 – up 18% on the capacity additions expected this year. It also sees a market shift away from China, with two thirds of capacity located elsewhere. The overcapacity situation is also expected to ease.
According to IHS Markit, energy storage inverter shipments are on track to reach 3 GW in 2018, growing to 7 GW by 2022. Currently, SMA is the market leader. Overall, the competitive landscape is “highly volatile” with expectations that consolidation will continue.
U.K. renewable investment firm Octopus has signed another private PPA in Italy, this time with EGO Group for 63 MW of unsubsidized solar PV projects. Meanwhile, Canadian Solar Inc. has signed a 10-year PPA with TrailStone GmbH for the energy generated from a 17 MW project in Sicily.
The concept of revamping and repowering is one of the newest terms in the solar industry. As the installed base of PV systems ages, the concept of upgrading and improving operating plants becomes increasingly relevant to both manufacturers and PV plant asset managers. However, the real market size for new PV components in existing plants will depend on the characteristics of each plant, the overall regulatory framework and the economic benefits that will accrue to asset managers.
A new era in the Chinese energy transition is on the menu and renewables are the order of the day, according to the latest China Renewable Energy Outlook (CREO). China will not require a gas bridge between coal and renewables, it finds, adding that renewables will become the core of the nation’s energy system by 2050, with annual PV installs of between 80-160 GW possible. Not only that, but electricity supply could be cheaper in this future than it is today.
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