Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 52

This issue covers:

New Global Solar Council created

A number of national and regional solar industry associations have joined to form the Global Solar Council (GSC) to cooperate on promoting the solar power sector at an international level, share best practices and accelerate global market developments.

The announcement was made at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.

According to the GSC, solar power is already one of the cheapest forms of electricity globally, and prices continue to decline fast. The levelised cost of solar electricity is 80% lower than it was during the COP15 conference in 2009. The group says that solar could be a 10% share of global power generation by 2030 as compared with less than 1% today, given the right market conditions.

The principal members of the organization are national and regional solar associations from both established and emerging markets, including China, Europe, India, the Middle East, Australia, South America and the USA. The group hopes to establish its secretariat and legal entity in the USA and headquarters in China. Membership is open to any association active in solar power.

UK solar PV outpaces rest of Europe

Market consultancy Solar Intelligence predicts that the UK will comfortably remain the leading European market for new solar PV installations during the calendar year 2016.

The analysis service says that, in the rush to complete installations under the 1.3 ROC fiscal period, almost all leading module suppliers are now sold out until 31 March 2016, with new inverter and mounting suppliers rushing to get new business from a more diverse range of developers and chosen EPCs.

This extends to most UK-established EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) contractors, many of whom have a finite bandwidth and are forced to find new sub-contractors when taking on extra work at short notice. The vast quantity of sub-5MW sites is also allowing sub-contractors to step up to lead-EPC roles.

Solar Intelligence also says that the market is not simply vibrant for solar farms deployment, but also across all other segments, in particular residential and the small to mid-size commercial rooftops.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), UK solar PV generation reached almost 3.2TWh in Q2 2015 according to the following a period of substantial growth in the sector. The 3,191GWh generated between April and June was three times that of the previous quarter and shows generation has more than doubled when compared to 2014 Q2.

Backed by this situation, it is forecast that the UK will be some distance ahead of any other European market in 2015 accounting for about 40-50% of European solar installations this calendar year.

Going forward, the UK will also be the largest solar market in Europe for 2016, with more capacity installed in Q1 2016 than what any other European market will install during the whole year. Full news report here


Turkey has new solar PV ambitions

Turkey has announced a series of new subsidies to support renewable energy equipment production, as it raises its renewable energy targets.

A report says that Turkey needs to make investments of around $130 billion in the sector to meet its increasing energy demands by 2023. Some $33 billion of this amount will be invested in the hydro power sector and $30 billion in wind and solar power technologies

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said state incentives for renewable energy equipment manufacturing would also be supported through VAT exemptions, other tax exemptions, and non-rate subsidies.

The Government says that existing and planned solar power projects will enable the country to meet some 5 percent of its electricity needs from solar power.

Some parts of the Central Anatolian province of Niğde (Turkey) have been announced as a specialized energy industrial zone after the first site of this kind in another Central Anatolian province, Konya. Full details here


New IET Code of Practice for Solar PV

A new Code of Practice setting out the requirements for the design, specification, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the UK is available from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The IET Code of Practice for the Grid Connected Solar Photovoltaic Systems has been published following widespread consultation. It provides solar PV system designers and installers with the information required to ensure that a solar PV system is designed, installed, operated and maintained to comply with relevant UK and international standards and good practice recommendations.

The Code of Practice updates UK industry practice to ensure safe, effective and fit-for-purpose installation of solar PV systems at all scales of application. Topics such as system earthing, fault alarms, fusing, connectors and fire detection, have been reviewed in detail, with key changes supporting good practice within the UK as well as aligning with international standards where relevant.

Import tariffs extended on panels from China

The European Commission (EC) has extended its import tariffs and price controls on solar panels from China. The expiry review means that the import tariffs could remain in place for several more years, and possibly, until 2020.

The EC says it will undertake two expiry reviews into anti-dumping and countervailing measures as well as an interim review as to whether cells should remain subject to the tariffs.

The UK Solar Trade Association has expressed disappointment with the move, which it says will continue to artificially inflate the price of solar unnecessarily. However, the European Union can now, as part of its proceedings, officially consider whether the import duties are doing the European solar industry more harm than good, which the Solar Trade Association hopes will help bring the tariffs to an end.

"These price controls on imports of Chinese solar panels need to be dropped," says Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association. "Europe is currently paying far more than it should for its solar - and that applies both to our homeowners and our governments."

Christmas opening hours

We would like to make you aware as early as possible about our reduced working hours over December and January.

The UK office
Seaward Group’s Christmas party is taking place today, 18th of December. Staff will only be available until approximately 11.30am. Seaward officially break up for Christmas at 12:30pm on Thursday, 24th of December, and do not return until Monday, 4th of January.

The US office
Our US office will close at 1pm on the 24th December and will reopen from 28th to 30th December then close from the 31st December until the 4th January.

Season's Greetings to everyone.

Free solar PV installation industry white paper

Our new free white paper 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 white paper is available as a free download at

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