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Magazine Archive 05 – 2022

Ray of light in fog of war

While the loss of life and ongoing peril facing Ukraine continues to shake Europe, the ways in which the conflict will reshape many aspects of life on the continent is beginning to become clear. Energy is a major part of that recalibration. The burning desire to both wean off Russian gas and starve the conflict has delivered considerable momentum, and challenges, to the adoption of renewable energy in the European Union and in neighboring states.

Shock and challenge

In the month of April, the Invesco Solar ETF underperformed relative to the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, registering a 14.5% decline. Jesse Pichel of ROTH Capital Partners says this is primarily due to the impacts of the latest anti-circumvention case in the United States.

An ounce of prevention

The causes of performance issues and safety problems in PV plants are diverse, as Martin Schachinger of pvXchange and Falko Krause of GME clean power outlined earlier this year (see pv magazine 01/2022, p.11). For plant operators, it is not only important to keep an eye on yields, but also to identify changes in installed components quickly – especially those that can lead to serious safety and operator risks.

Distributed gains

High module prices are expected to cause a shift in solar demand from the utility-scale segment to the distributed-generation PV space, while residential and commercial and industrial consumers are expected to be less price sensitive, writes IHS Markit analyst Siqi He. In 2022, distributed PV will account for more than 40% of global solar installations.

No end to supply/demand imbalance

The solar supply chain problems that began last year with high prices and polysilicon shortages are persisting into 2022. But we are already seeing a stark difference from earlier predictions that prices would decline gradually each quarter this year. PV Infolink’s Alan Tu probes the solar market situation and offers insights.

Industry stands by forced labor crackdown

Despite a year of import woes, the US solar industry has made it clear that it supports the ban of goods from the Xinjiang region of China, which is responsible for 50% of the world’s polysilicon supply. pv magazine USA’s Ryan Kennedy reports that the challenges in clearing the new hurdles to importing PV modules are high, but he notes that the industry is working to overcome them.

There’s scale, then there’s China

Against all odds, China’s gross domestic product grew by 8.1% in 2021, up 5.8% year on year. Electricity consumption grew by 10.3%, up 7.2%. Taking this into account, it’s no surprise that China’s PV industry also reached new heights. Frank Haugwitz, the founder of the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA), takes a closer look at what is still by far the world’s largest PV market.

South Korea stands strong on solar aims

A measured, long-term clean energy transition strategy is reshaping South Korean society for the better. Although geographical limitations present a challenge, the Koreans are rising to the task of meeting ambitious goals with innovative PV plans, writes Q Cells’ manager of corporate communications, Ian Clover.

‘Clear winds of change’

After a decade of under-delivering on its potential, there are changes afoot in Southeast Asia’s renewable energy development, says Assaad W. Razzouk, the CEO of Singapore-based developer Gurin Energy. Razzouk points to success stories in the region and notes that political will and clear regulations for developers are needed.

At what cost?

Subsidies for PV projects are a divisive topic in European countries. Mistakes of the past hang over fresh decision-making processes. Experts argue that changing market conditions are making even months-old schemes too generous, while missing the real issues.

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