Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 25

This issue covers:

Asia Pacific solar PV activity to reach record levels

A new report forecasts that solar PV demand from China and Japan will reach 9GW during the second half of 2013, double the levels of the first half of the year and an increase of 70% compared to the same period of 2012.

The report on Asia Pacific PV markets from NPD Solabruzz, says that, overall solar PV demand from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region will exceed 16 GW during 2013, up 90% year on year and will account for over 40% of global PV demand this year.

China is forecast to become the top country for solar PV deployment in 2013. During Q2’13, rooftop installation demand in China exceeded ground-mount installations for the first time, stimulated by government plans to develop the distributed generation segment. However, it is expected that as bottlenecks related to project financing and grid accessibility for solar farms are resolved, the rest of the year will see strong ground-mount deployment from China Power Investment, China Guangdong Nuclear, Three Gorges Group, and other utility developers.

Japan continues to be the most active PV market this year, with growth of 150% in 2013 compared to the prior calendar year and a forecast of over 5 GW in the pipeline for installations before the end of Q2’14. PV demand in Japan during 2H’13 will be driven by the commercial and utility segments with 65% market share, in contrast to 2H’12 when the residential segment accounted for over 75% of demand.

Full details at


UK installations show some growth

The latest UK solar PV installation figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that below 50kW-scale installations are continuing to grow steadily. For the week ending 18 August, there were 1,910 installations registered on the government database, representing 7.14MW of new capacity.

Continuing previous trends, the vast majority of installations were carried out in the 0-4kW tariff band, which accounted for 95% of all installs recorded in the week. However, the normally suppressed 10-50kW sector saw a 57% rise in capacity installed from the previous week to stand at 1.5MW.

The 7MW-a-week installation rate represents a rebound to the level of installs seen in March and a 28% increase from the previous week.

Following the degression across the three smallest tariff bands in July, the solar industry has enjoyed a period of tariff stability that will stretch until the New Year when the less than 50kW tariff bands will all be reduced by 3.5% across the board on 1 January 2014.

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Solar PV test instrumentation helps off-grid installations

Advanced test instrumentation has helped a UK-based solar PV specialist to significantly improve the electricity supply on two off-grid Hebridean Islands.

Renewables specialist Wind & Sun Ltd. has recently completed two new innovative solar PV power installation projects on the islands of Muck and Eigg off the west coast of Scotland to provide additional energy supplies to meet the needs of the growing island communities.

On the Isle of Muck, the newly installed power generation system incorporates both wind turbines and solar PV, with diesel generator back up. As part of the island’s new 3.3kV 415V high voltage grid, the solar PV installation comprises a 12 string PV array of 132 REC Solar 250PE 250W modules with an output of 33kWp.

On the Isle of Eigg, installation work was also recently completed on an extension to the islands existing solar PV generating capacity with the addition of a new 6 string, 22.5kWp PV array using 90 REC 250PE 250Wp PV modules.

In both cases Wind & Sun carried out all irradiance testing and electrical commissioning work on the new solar PV systems with the latest Seaward Solarlink PV test kit to ensure compliance with the required MCS and MIS standards.

 The Solarlink PV kit combines the comprehensive electrical testing and datalogging capabilities of the PV150 hand held solar tester with the advanced Solar Survey 200R multifunction PV survey meter.

Special wireless Solarlink connectivity between the PV150 and the high performance Solar Survey 200R meter enables real-time irradiance to be displayed and measured at the same time as electrical testing is being undertaken. This means that irradiance, module and ambient temperature can be recorded simultaneously within the PV150 as the electrical tests are conducted.

On the Scottish Islands electrification projects, the specialist test kit enabled Wind & Sun site engineers to eliminate the need for separate testers to be used for different measurements, bringing savings in test times without any compromise on the integrity of the results.

In addition, by recording a reference number against the tests for each string on site, the saved test results could be easily downloaded back in the office for fast incorporation in commissioning reports and other project paperwork.

More details at


New California bill will boost solar PV 

California’s Legislature has given approval for the state’s "Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program", which is the largest of its kind in the USA and will allow rental tenants, schools, cities and many other interested parties to invest in California's solar PV and other renewable energy projects.

The SB43 program allows businesses and individuals to purchase shares in the renewable developments of three investor-owned utilities– Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison Co. (SCE).

The idea behind SB43 is to allow Californians who cannot install their own solar unit, windmill or other renewable power generation system to obtain renewable energy through their utility.

It is anticipated that the bill will create thousands of jobs and encourage more investment in an important sector of California’s economy, while helping the state meet its renewable energy goals.

The ruling allows the investment of up to 600 MW in renewable energy, of which 100 MW must be made available to residential customers. It will be overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), who will decide which clean energy projects qualify for the program and oversee how the cost benefits will trickle through to the customer.

The bill requires the utility companies to deal directly with the renewable energy developers, managing the rates on the behalf of customers. The bill also states that 100 MW of the proposed 600 MW will be built in disadvantaged communities. 

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