Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boost for solar energy industry as prices rise

Prices of polysilicon products, the main raw ingredient in solar products, have risen recently due to reduced production and favorable policies to promote domestic demand, injecting some hope into the industry amid its problems with overcapacity, analysts told the Global Times Monday.

The prices sank to a record low in the fourth quarter of 2012 when exports of solar panel products to the US and European Union stalled.

The US gave final approval on November 7, 2012 for anti-dumping duties ranging from 18.32 to 249.96 percent and additional countervailing duties of 14.78 to 15.97 percent on solar-energy products from China over the next five years. The EU also launched probes into Chinese solar panels in September and November last year.

China, the world's biggest producer of solar power products, imports half of its polysilicon materials mainly from the US and EU for assembling solar cells and panels that are then re-exported to these markets.

The average price of polysilicon reached 136,163 yuan ($21,962) per ton Monday, up 16 percent from mid-December, according to data from market intelligence agency Sunsirs China Commodity Data Group.

The higher price means that polysilicon producers can break even and even make a slight profit of 1 to 2 percent, Zhang Ming, a market analyst with Sunsirs, told the Global Times Monday.

"Many polysilicon manufacturers have gone bankrupt and only one out of 10 producers maintained production last year due to overcapacity issues," Zhang said.

China has allowed the connection of photovoltaic solar power producers to the State grid and has launched policies to boost domestic demand for solar power, which also contributed to the recovery of upstream raw materials, he said.

The price of solar panel products has also increased slightly to $0.7 per unit from a record low of $0.6 last year, Meng Xian'gan, deputy director of the China Renewable Energy Society, told the Global Times Monday.

However, it is too early to say that the slowdown in the sector has bottomed out, Meng said.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Incentives Push Massachusetts Residents to Go Solar

To be green, sometimes you need to spend a little green. That’s the lesson Massachusetts officials have learned by enticing homeowners to invest in renewable energy through tax breaks, rebates and other economic incentives.

Since 1979, Massachusetts has offered a $1,000, one-time tax credit to homeowners who install solar systems, but that incentive didn’t exactly push residents to invest in these relatively costly systems.

What really drove the solar energy market, according to Dwayne Breger, director of the Division of Renewable Energy at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), was the legislature’s passage in 2008 of the Green Communities Act. Among its most notable initiatives, the legislation established one of the nation’s first renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS), requiring that 15 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020. For the record, Rhode Island beat its neighbor to the north by establishing an RPS four years earlier at 16 percent by the end of 2019.

To enact this and other green legislation, the state created the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) in 2009. The agency started providing rebates to homeowners, businesses and municipalities that installed solar power systems with the capacity to generate up to 15 kilowatts.

DOER also implemented a solar carve-out program, which issues a solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) to solar system owners for each megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. SRECs trade at market value, which floats currently between $200 and $250 apiece — a price often higher than fossil fuel-generated electricity. Retail electric suppliers gobble up these certificates, as they are required by state law to buy a certain number of them annually in support of renewable energy production.

If homeowners are hesitant to invest in the upfront costs of a photovoltaic system, third-party businesses have stepped in to fill the void by installing the equipment and racking up SRECs while hosts enjoy lower energy costs.

“It may take an upfront cost, but the payback with incentives is quite strong,” Breger said. “If you don’t want to have the upfront cost, you can do the third-party arrangement and have small but immediate energy-cost savings over time.

So far, nearly 4,000 residential solar projects have been installed and only 10 of the state’s 351 cities and towns don’t have some form of solar activity, Breger said.

Monday, February 18, 2013

PV industry capacity imbalance pressure still in the consolidation and restructuring of focus

2012, photovoltaic products appear serious imbalance between supply and demand, product prices have fallen sharply, foreign polysilicon enterprises to China, dumping large quantities of low-cost polysilicon products, resulting in industry-wide losses of 90% of the domestic polysilicon enterprises Discontinued. Country ten PV companies listed in the U.S. debt had reached 111 billion yuan, the average debt ratio of close to 70%. "China Photovoltaic Industry Association Secretary-General Wang Bo said.

China Renewable Energy Society Vice President Meng XianGan of you said, "in 2013, the PV industry will enter a deep industrial restructuring period." December 19, 2012, is undoubtedly good news for China's photovoltaic solar panel industry. The State Council, while emphasizing in market Daobi mechanism to encourage corporate mergers and acquisitions, eliminate backward production capacity. On the other hand, strict control of new project simply expand the production capacity of polysilicon, photovoltaic cells and modules.

"These policy measures are bound to a certain extent, to accelerate the industry reshuffle 2013, the PV industry will enter a depth industry adjustment to eliminate a number of capacity inefficient, high-cost photovoltaic enterprises, the overall level of capacity may reductions. "China Renewable Energy Society Vice President Meng XianGan said.

In fact, this year to adjust the photovoltaic industry support policies more than that. "" Solar power development 'second five' plan, "the 2015 solar power capacity target to more than 21GW. According to the" declaration distributed large-scale application of photovoltaic power generation demonstration area, the planning of distributed PV a total installed capacity of 15GW .

National Grid [microblogging] also published a good distribution of photovoltaic power generation and network services advice, asked the 10 kV voltage level connected to the grid, just apply for no cost, and purchase the full amount of generating capacity, with intent to gradually clearing the grid obstacles. China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance Secretary-General Wang Bo, analysts believe that these policies are to the growth of the PV solar cell market in China to bring good, but still need to improve policy implementation rules, the effect of policies to be tested. '

"Overcapacity in exports, comprehensive loss for the industry, it can be said that the 2012 is the darkest year for the photovoltaic industry in 2013 after nearly two years of difficulties, or become the year of the turning point of the photovoltaic industry." ChinaVenture Investment in Group microblogging ] analyst Li Ling said.

Li Ling believes that "the entire PV solar charge controller industry will usher in a fully integrated, survival of the fittest, capacity and low efficiency, poor management, outdated business philosophy, enterprises will be eliminated or merger. Expected loss of a large area of ??the industry as a whole in 2013, the situation is expected to improve photovoltaic industry will gradually return to the right track. "

"Although efforts to control the production capacity at the policy level, vigorously develop the domestic market imbalances and will not immediately solve the short-term production capacity imbalance adjustments also need to go through this process in 2013." Photovoltaic Industry Association of Jiangsu Province, the former Secretary-General Wei Qidong said.

"The components will continue to bear the the stage imbalance of pressure by double reverse effect of foreign demand on China components is expected to 10GW domestic related to promote the introduction of the policy so that domestic demand to reach 10GW, the actual demand for a total of about 20GW but PV module production in China in 2012 to integrate not effectively occur phased imbalance pressure will continue to bear the capacity in 2013. "China Photovoltaic Industry Association Secretary-General Wang Bo said.