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Magazine Archive 06-2014

All eyes on India

India: As India goes to the polls as pv magazine goes to press, Raj Prabhu, CEO and cofounder of Mercom Capital Group, explores how key political battlegrounds are set to shape the country’s solar industry – hopefully for the better – over the next few years.

Survival strategies

Production equipment: PV equipment demand in 2014 is already enjoying an improvement on last year, but suppliers across the globe have to adapt to changes within the sector in order to not only survive, but remain competitive.

Buy local

Green electricity: Through its Solar25 tariff, Grünstromwerk in Hamburg wants to make photovoltaic power independent of the changing winds of German politics. And to do that, their concept lets consumers directly buy solar energy from local producers without any government subsidies. Plus, any area where enough customers sign up will get more photovoltaic systems.

The Balkan PV balk

Bulgaria and Romania: Having developed early promise, the PV markets of Bulgaria and Romania have disappointed in recent months, with questions around future energy policy and grid expansion left unanswered. Will their slumbering potential be roused in the coming years, or are both nations sleepwalking towards the PV wilderness?

Casting light on off-grid areas

Interview: Robert Haendel is applying a startup ethos to where the stars are aligning in cost and efficiency. His solar startup Fosera Lighting, based in Singapore, has developed a range of products combining the fast evolving technologies of PV, lithium iron phosphate batteries and LEDs to light up off-grid communities. Norway’s Differ Group and fosera in Germany are investors in the venture. Before these investors were found, Haendel had launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to be able to start production.

The future of PV in Germany

Germany: The planned amendment of the German Renewable Energy Act stipulates a reduction of feed-in tariffs and the introduction of a flexible market premium based on mandatory direct selling. Tobias Kurth, senior manager at the consulting firm Energy Brainpool, analyzes the consequences for solar photovoltaics in the country.

Chinese EPCs dominate

Ranking: Chinese EPC companies continued to extend their market position last year, as evidenced by the current ranking of market research company IHS. Of the world’s 10 largest EPC companies, five are from China, three are from the USA and only two are from Europe. They focus mainly on their own domestic market.

The trouble with aging

Battery storage systems: When it comes to the service life of batteries, there are many illusions. It could be a mistake to risk, or even to plan, that batteries will have to be replaced after ten years. Armin U. Schmiegel from Bosch Power Tec explains why.

Distributed PV: primed, but not yet ready to shine

China: On January 2014, the National Energy Administration announced a target of 8 GW of distributed solar PV and 6 GW of utility-scale PV for 2014. Distributed PV will play an increasingly important role in China’s energy mix in the next years as part of the country’s efforts to tackle air pollution.

Tracking new solar market trends

Solar trackers: Prices of trackers have dropped significantly in recent years, squeezing the returns on investment in the segment. Nonetheless, new players are entering the market, and new tracker designs and services continue to emerge.

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