Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 23

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UK offers “most exciting solar growth in Europe”...

A UK government minister has claimed that the country now provides the most exciting solar growth market in Europe.

Speaking at the Doing Solar Business in the UK, in Munich, Greg Barker, minister of state for energy and climate change described three main reasons why UK solar is so attractive.

He said: “First, the UK domestic market has the greatest growth potential in the EU. Second, the UK has a reformed, robust and fully-financed support framework for renewables, set all the way to 2020 and beyond. And third, we are an emerging global hub for advanced manufacturing.

“No country in the EU is better-placed for growth and new solar deployment than the UK. No country has more potential for future solar deployment. Our stated ambitions mean that we have over 17GW of solar to deploy in the next seven years. And no country has a better mix of ingredients to support the solar industry.”

As part of his speech the minister welcomed the installation of 2.5GW of solar across the UK, labelling it a “heroic level of deployment” that was a “tribute to the hard work, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of the British solar industry.”

The minister also launched an attack of the recent duties imposed by the European Commission on Chinese-manufactured solar products, stating: “Britain – perhaps more than anyone else in the EU – stands for free trade and global competition. We have always done so, and will always continue to do so. That is why we have led the fight against the imposition of damaging and counterproductive anti-dumping EU levies on imports of Chinese solar panels.”

More at . weekly PV installations burst through 10MW barrier

The UK weekly number of sub 50kW solar photovoltaic installations has broken through the 10MW barrier for the first time during 2013.

The week ending 16 June 2013 saw 2,399 installations completed across the UK, representing 10.02MW of installed capacity. The last time that the solar industry installed more than 10MW-a-week of sub 50kW was in November 2012 when the FiT rate decreased by 3.5% from 16p/kWh.

The growth in installations marks a 30.23% increase from the installation rate at the beginning of the month. Of the 2,399 installs completed at the end of 16 June, 2,245 were in the 0-4kW tariff band.

The rise in installs has been driven by an increase in demand for domestic scale systems (0-4kW) as customers look to install systems before the FiT rate is reduced on 1 July.

Full details at:


Global PV investment on the increase

Two international reports have been published that each describe a thriving situation for global PV installations.

The "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013" report, published by the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and “Renewables 2013 Global Status Report,” released simultaneously by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), say last year's investments in renewable energy at $244 billion, down from $279 billion in 2011 due to lower solar prices and weakened markets in Europe and the U.S.

However, the overall trend is up, the reports say with solar PV representing around 26% of the total investment. Overall, global solar PV capacity reached 100 GW in 2012, surpassing bio-mass to become the third largest renewable power source in operation after hydropower and wind.

The reports say new solar PV installations reached a record 30.5 GW worldwide in 2012, but overall investment was down from the previous year due to falling PV system prices, which dropped as much as 40%. Bargain basement prices may have sparked demand for small-scale solar, however. According to the reports, spending on projects 1 MW and smaller rose from $77 billion in 2011 to $80 billion in 2012, while spending on larger scale solar projects fell 24% to $52.7 billion.

Interestingly, a report published by the Solar Electric Power Association earlier this month found that annual solar capacity in the U.S. surpassed 2 GW for the first time in 2012, largely on the strength of large-scale solar projects, which grew 160% from 2011 to 1.13 GW.

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New Solarlink PV test technology

The latest solar PV electrical test kit from Seaward Solar has special PV system datalogging and downloading capabilities enabling new solar PV systems to be installed safely, thoroughly and effectively in line with international standards.

The new Solarlink Test Kit includes all the necessary equipment to perform pre-installation site surveys and measure the electrical safety and performance of installed PV systems in line with IEC 62446, MCS MIS 3002, NABCEP and many others.

The all-in-one kit combines the comprehensive electrical test capabilities of the new PV150 solar handheld tester with the advanced Solar Survey 200R multifunction environment meter.

The PV150 is the most technically advanced and safest solar PV installation tester on the market. In the comprehensive new kit it is accompanied by the Solar Survey 200R environment meter which incorporates a PV reference cell for more representative measurements.

Special wireless Solarlink connectivity between the two instruments enables real-time irradiance to be displayed and measured at the same time as electrical testing is being undertaken.

This means that compass bearing and roof tilt can be measured, and irradiance, module and ambient temperature can be recorded in real time within the PV150 as the electrical tests are conducted.

Once testing is completed, the USB download of time and date stamped test results, irradiance and temperature measurements provides full traceability and speeds up the completion of PV system documentation and customer handover packs.


EU anti dumping duties likely to restrict PV growth

New industry research claims that PV installations in Europe in 2013 will be 1.3GW lower than previously predicted due to recently introduced anti-dumping duties against Chinese module manufacturers.

Analysis by IHS forecasts that European PV installations will fall by more than 6GW in 2013 compared to 2013, with the European Commission's 11.8% duty on Chinese solar imports accounting for 1.3GW of that.

Despite this dramatic fall, IHS's latest quarterly analysis still predicts global installations will grow at a double-digit rate to 35GW in 2013 driven by a surge in demand in Asia.

However it is forecast that during 2013, installations across Europe will fall to 11.6GW, down 33% from 17.7GW in 2012, driven by the trade tariffs and other factors such as falling subsidies in key countries such as Germany.

Despite this huge fall in European demand, IHS still predicts that the global PV market will grow in 2013, with installations hitting 35GW, up 11% from 31GW in 2012.

However, unlike most previous years, Asia will be the driving force for growth, with installations in the region predicted to exceed 15GW for the first time and thus account for 45% of global demand. This will make the Asian market larger than Europe for the first time.

China and Japan will account for the majority of this and IHS predicts they will become the two largest markets in 2013 based on volume. Japan will lead in terms of revenue, as IHS previously announced.

More details at

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