Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 50

This issue covers:

Strong growth in global PV module market predicted

A period of strong growth in the global photovoltaic (PV) module industry is expected, thanks to a new wave of capacity expansions, a relatively stable pricing environment and increasing demand from several established regional markets.

The latest market report from analysts at HIS Inc. forecasts that growth will continue into 2016, when module shipments will exceed 2015 shipments by 10 %.

It is forecast that stable pricing and increased shipments will enable global 2016 PV module revenue to hit $41.9 billion, exceeding the previous record set in 2010 by 4%. PV module shipments in the fourth quarter of 2015 are expected to rise 29%, year over year, reaching 18.7 gigawatts (GW) in the quarter.

However, the USA PV market is forecast to experience a significant decline in 2017, following the reduction of the federal investment tax credit (ITC). This tax-credit reduction will contribute to a fall in global demand for PV modules, and PV module prices are forecast to decline by 9 percent.

“This year and next year will mark a climax in the recovery of the solar PV sector, after a period of intense price reductions and margin compression, when average gross margins fell into the mid-single digits or lower,” IHS said. Further details in a news report here

New EV charge point tester video

Last month we launched our EV100 EV charge point tester, an all-in-one test and diagnostic tool, designed to ensure that all types of AC electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) are operating correctly and safely, in accordance with IEC 61851, both at the time of installation and as part of an ongoing periodic maintenance regime.

Since the launch we have created a short video which gives an overview of what the EV100 EV charge point tester can do.

EV100 EV charge point tester

Free solar PV installation industry white paper

We've produced a new free white paper that looks at the role of effective commissioning and periodic testing in ensuring that solar PV system installations remain safe and continue to operate at optimum performance.

The special document looks at the ever increasing installation of both roof top and ground mounted solar PV installations across the world and the dangers associated with any failure to properly test and evaluate systems before they are brought into service.

The briefing note considers the role of formal installation standards and the implications of safety, fitness for purpose and fire risk considerations.

Also included are details of the existing IEC 62446 standard that sets out the testing, information and customer documentation required for solar PV installations and how it can be used to establish best practice procedures for the initial and periodic electrical inspection and testing required by systems.

The paper concludes with a review of solar PV testing technology and its role in ensuring solar PV system safety and energy generation performance. The PV white paper is available as a free download at

IEA expresses UK concerns

The International Energy Agency has echoed UK solar industry concerns regarding a lack of certainty on a renewables support policy, warning of a detrimental effect on deployment.

In its Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, the IEA scaled back its expectations for additional renewable net capacity to 2020, considering that the uncertain policy environment would pose a significant challenge for deployment.

The report warns that the proposals to reduce the small-scale feed-in tariff by as much as 87% as of January 1st would “slow deployment going forward” and that this was not being helped by government steps to limit further support through the RO scheme due to a lack of available funding through the Levy Control Framework.

“Enhanced deployment in the United Kingdom would require rapid clarification of future support for new onshore wind and solar PV… [and] an increased pace and scale of auctions and the funding pots available for different technologies could help spur greater renewable deployment, particularly in wind, bioenergy and solar PV,” the report states.

“Nevertheless, given current signals from the government, the upside in 2020 is highly uncertain versus the main case,” it concludes.



Australia leads world in rooftop solar PV installation

The Energy Supply Association of Australia has published a report that shows that with a national average of 15% penetration, the country leads the way in terms of global residential rooftop solar.

Energy Supply Association CEO Matthew Warren, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said. “Most other countries are in low single digits, so we're kind of pioneering the experiment of rooftop solar and the world is watching.”

The ENS report showed that Belgium has the second highest rate, with 7%. However, while Belgium may be in second place with regard to percentage roof top penetration, the market size is far smaller than Australia’s. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts Belgium to install some 65 MW of PV in 2015, while Australia should push over 1 GW.

In terms of installed PV capacity per capita Germany leads the way with 0.47kW per capita (PC), followed by Italy (31kW/PC), and Belgium (0.28kW/PC). Australia (0.19kW/PC) comes in sixth place.

Where Australia falls behind in the global solar rankings is in the large scale sector. Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) figures anticipate that Australia’s large scale capacity will total less than 300 MW by year’s end.

“It's one of those peculiarities,” said Warren. “We've seen almost no utility scale in Australia, whereas countries like Germany and the USA have predominantly utility scale solar, and that's been because of the way our renewable energy target has been designed. So it's tended to bias us towards lowest-cost renewable generation like wind at the expense of slightly higher-cost utility scale like solar” Read the full news report in PV magazine.

Overseas growth wins export award for Seaward

Seaward’s growing success in international T&M instrumentation markets, including solar PV, has been recognised with a prestigious business award.

In the 2015 Insider Made in the North East awards to acknowledge the top performing manufacturing businesses in the region, Seaward was rewarded with first place in the export category.

While the company continues to perform strongly in UK markets, the award was made in response to the company’s expanding overseas focus.

Export sales now account for around 50% of the company’s turnover and grew by 20% in the last year. Andrew Upton, Seaward Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have received this award and it reflects highly on the efforts and commitment of everyone involved in the business.

“We’ve always had a strong overseas market presence and the much improved performance in the last few years reflects our success in adopting a much more strategic approach to our export business.”

The Insider judges were particularly impressed with the fact that increased exports have led to an increase in the Seaward workforce, as well as the overseas expansion of operations with offices now established in Florida and Malaysia.

Made in the North East Award

Come see us at Elex Sandown

Seaward will be exhibiting at the Elex Show on 5-6th November at Sandown Park, Surrey.

Visit our stand A10 and get hands-on with the Seaward range including the new Apollo 400 PAT tester, the new EV100 EV charge point tester, the PrimeTest 250+, Installation Testing equipment, and the Solar PV testing range.

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