Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 36

This issue covers:

China powers ahead

A global review of renewable energy has confirmed that China has become the world’s biggest growing market for solar power.

The recently published Global Renewable Energy Report 2014 from Hanergy and China New Energy Chamber of Commerce says that China’s installed photovoltaic generating capacity increased 232% on-year to 12 gigawatts (GW) last year.

This figure compares with Germany's newly installed capacity falling 56.5% to 3.3GW and Italy's dropping 55% year-on-year to 1.6GW.

Overall, the growth of the solar industry continues to accelerate. Globally, newly installed solar capacity reached 38.7GW, bringing the global total of installed capacity to 140.6GW in 2013, compared with 101.9GW in 2012.

"Our research shows that China has already become the world's biggest solar market. Now the country is moving to a more green and sustainable model of development which will drive future global growth in renewable energy," Chairman and CEO of Hanergy and President of the China New Energy Chamber of Commerce, Li Hejun said. The full report is available here.


UK breaks through the 5GW mark

The UK’s cumulative capacity has now reached 5GW according to NPD Solarbuzz.

This makes the UK only the sixth country to have more than 5GW capacity. Germany remains the leader with more than 36GW. China, Japan, Italy and the USA each have more than 10GW installed.

In an interesting review of the UK reaching this milestone, Solar Power Portal reports that, ‘if you were partial to spending four hours taking the train from Chester to Hull, three-quarters of the UK’s 5GW solar PV capacity is located on your right-hand-side.’

As well as the obvious relationship with the availability of sunshine, grid-connectivity, town-hall leanings, council persuasion, land-availability, and the very-organised professionalism and efficacy of developers/installers are all factors that have led to the geographic segmentation of UK solar PV capacity.

For these and many other reasons, the south west is the clear leader for solar megawatts installed in the UK today with just under one-third of the 5GW capacity.

Full report at


More growth in US solar carports

According to a new report from GTM Research, the USA is expected to add 180MW of solar carports in 2014, setting the stage for another record year for the growing market.

The market report, titled notes that it would be the fourth consecutive year that over 100MW of solar carports would be installed in the US.

Scott Moskowitz, author of the report, said: “The US solar carport market has historically been driven by solar incentives dedicated to government and educational entities coupled with physical and regulatory limitations for rooftop systems for these customers. With the average system price of solar carports continuing to fall, commercial solar developers can offer increased value to customers in the form of larger project sizes and greater electricity savings”.

While the report noted that California has historically represented more than half of the national market for solar carports, it also stated that new east coast destinations are cropping up. GTM expects that continued growth in California, New Jersey and Arizona will help boost the total value of the market to US$843 million in 2016. More at


CFD challenge for UK solar PV

It is forecast that UK solar PV will struggle in the longer term to compete with more established renewables under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism when it is introduced in April 2015.

Industry analyst IHS warns that, with DECC ending the support for utility-scale PV under the Renewables Obligation Scheme (ROC) by 1 April 2015, the future of ground-based PV hinges on the success of projects competing with other technologies in the CfD auction.

Since the more profitable ROC scheme runs for onshore wind until 2017, the first CfD auction is likely to see few onshore wind project applications – initially leaving the way clear for solar PV. IHS estimates that 800 MW of PV capacity could be approved in the first round.

If the budget remains the same in future auctions, HIS warns that PV will gradually get squeezed out by onshore wind projects.

In contrast, the forecast is that 4 GW of utility-scale PV will be installed in the UK in 2014 and Q1 of 2015 under the previous ROC scheme that will no longer be available to projects larger than 5MW after March 2015.

This would be fully in line with the UK government’s strategy to shift PV deployment from utility-scale ground-based projects to rooftop installations. Full report at


Brazil's local content rules for solar PV revealed

Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, has released details of the new local content requirements solar projects must fulfil to access finance.

BNDES announced the conditions for solar developers who win bids in the upcoming reserve (LER) auction’s solar-only category and are designed to help create a domestic production chain for PV manufacturing in the country.

Only solar projects that meet the BNDES criteria for domestic content will be funded by the bank.

The rules set a number of different requirements that must be met for different components of a solar module and system. These will gradually be ramped up to 2020, after which a blanket 60% local requirement will be in place for modules. Full details at

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