Survey of Energy Resources Interim Update 2009
SER 2007 version >Solar Energy Country Notes update
Australia saw an increase of over 17% in installed PV capacity between 2006 and 2007. Although the country has an excellent solar resource and low electricity prices the cost of developing photovoltaic power is relatively high. However, the Government ratified the Kyoto Protocol in late-2007 and this has resulted in a planned increase to the Renewable Energy Target by 2020.
By end-2007, installed PV power was 82 MWp, of which 28 MWp was off-grid domestic, 39 MWp off-grid non-domestic, 15 MWp grid-connected distributed and 1 MWp grid-connected centralised.
The Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP), the Solar Homes and Communities Plan (formerly the Photovoltaic Rebate Program), the Low Emissions Technology and Abatement (LETA) program and, to some extent, the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target have all played their part in the developmental role of PV in recent years but, together with climate change in general, the subject has now attained a much higher status in the national consciousness.
Photovoltaic components are now widely available in the established retail sector, finding a ready market after the residential grant was doubled in 2007 to 8 000 AUD for the first kW installed. The second half of the year saw many new businesses created and a rise in the accreditation of PV installers. PV systems in schools and community schemes also benefited by being able to apply for 50% of costs up to 2 kWp.
The Solar Cities program has helped enormously to raise the profile of PV in the cities of Adelaide, Townsville, Blacktown, Alice Springs and Central Victoria. During 2008 the 94 million AUD program added Coburg and Perth as the 6th and 7th Solar Cities. In addition to residential installations, commercial and public buildings are having PV systems incorporated as part of a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the PV schemes, the Solar Hot Water Rebate Program is currently offering households a rebate of 1 000 AUD where an existing electric storage hot water system is replaced by a solar or heat pump hot water system.
Following the installation of the Australian National University's 400 m2 solar dish concentrator in 1994, a second ANU dish is under construction. It is part of a project to bring to commercial fruition the technology of solar thermal energy storage combined with generation of electricity.
Following an annual average increase of about 24% in installed PV capacity in France (including its overseas Departments) between 2000 and 2005, the rate increased to 33% in 2006 and 71% in 2007. Furthermore, in 2008 applications for connections to the electricity grid continued to accelerate. The feed-in tariff and tax credit measures set in 2006 have proved to be successful incentives in stimulating the market. Two further initiatives were begun in 2007: in March the Government adopted the European Commission's SET plan which has as one of its objectives to raise the share of renewable energy to 20% by 2020; in October a series of round-table discussions within the Grenelle de l'environnement (public meetings involving stakeholders in the environment field) established a development plan for renewable energies including PV.
As a result of governmental support for building-integrated PV (BIPV), the technology is fully in the minds of all parties involved in building design and development - from architects to financial institutions.
With the assistance of tax credits and support programmes, a total of
329 000 m2 of solar thermal collectors (including 70 000 m2 in overseas Departments) was installed during 2007. Although this level represents a more moderate rate of growth than that achieved during 2006, France (including overseas Departments) is the second largest European market for solar thermal collectors.
Germany continues to occupy the leading position for installed capacity amongst the European members of the IEA-PVPS. In 2007, the country added 1 135 MWp, bringing the total to 3 862 MWp installed PV capacity, of which 35 MWp was off-grid and 3 827 MWp was grid-connected. It is estimated that by end-2008 capacity stood at 5.3 GWp.
The Länder and the Federal German Environmental Foundation (DBU) have their own incentive programmes to support the implementation of PV but it is the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) with its feed-in tariffs which continues to be the driver behind the strong growth in Germany.
The principle of the EEG is to stimulate lower prices in the market by reducing the feed-in tariff (guaranteed over a period of 20 years) which, since 2004, has dropped by 5% per annum for roof-top modules (6.5% for ground modules). A modification was made to the EEG during 2008 so that the degression rate is reduced more rapidly from 2009 onwards. The new feed-in tariff was set at 8% for up to 100 kWp and 10% for over 100 kWp in 2009/2010. In the period 2011/2012 the rate will become 9%.
Owing to an increase in the rate of VAT, lower investment subventions and a decline in the heating equipment sector, the market in 2007 for solar thermal technology declined by 37% from 2006. By end-2007 940 000 m2 capacity had been added, bringing the total to 8 994 000 m2 (giving a capacity of 6 296 MWt). Germany retains its position as leader of the solar thermal market in Europe; the German Solar Industry Association estimates that 2008 will see a growth of +40%.
The 40 MWp Waldpolenz Solar Park, the fourth largest solar power array in the world, began generating electricity in June 2008. The final solar modules were put in place in December 2008 and the plant is expected to generate some 40 million kWh annually.
The work of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), originally launched by the Government in early 2005, to provide access to electricity for all households within five years, has continued and gained approval for financing under the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012).
For those villages too remote ever to be considered for an electricity supply, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has continued with its Electrification of Villages Programme, ensuring the distribution of decentralised renewable energy sources. By end-2007 some 110 MWp of solar PV had been installed under the MNRE Programmes, including just under 70 000 solar street lighting systems, in excess of 360,000 home lighting systems, nearly 600 000 solar lanterns and a 2.18 MWp power plant. Additionally, 7 068 solar PV pumps were active and in total some 4 200 villages and hamlets had become electrified. Under the Solar Thermal programme 2.15 million m2 of solar water heating systems and over
600 000 solar cookers had been installed.
Although by end-2007 there was only 2.12 MWp of grid-interactive solar power, the Government announced in January 2008 a new initiative to harness the solar potential of the country (up to a maximum of 50 MWp). Each State would be allowed a maximum of 10 MWp capacity.
On the occasion of the 2008 Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas, it was announced that tariffs for developing and demonstrating grid interactive generation would come into effect: a maximum of Rs 12/kWh for electricity generated by photovoltaic power plants and a maximum of Rs 10/kWh for solar thermal generated power. The incentives are to be at a fixed rate for 10 years and apply to plants of 1 MWp and above.
In February 2009 the MNRE launched a programme to develop solar cities throughout India. In the 11th Plan Period, 60 cities will attain the status of Solar City with each State having at least one, with a maximum of 5. By 2012 Nagpur in Maharashtra will be the first of the 15 cities so far given 'in principle' approval: Agra, Rajkot, Moradabad, Gandhinagar, Kalyan-Dombiwali, Indore, Imphal, Kohima, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Ciombtore, Visakhapattanam and Thane. Each city's Master Plan will set out how renewable energy and energy efficiency measures will supply at least 10% of its 5-year forecast conventional energy demand. The Ministry will choose two of the cities to act as Modal Solar Cities and thus be an example for others.
The Italian feed-in tariffs have provided the impetus to the growth of the PV market. 2007 saw an additional 70.2 MWp installed up from just 6.8 MWp in 2005 and 12.5 MWp in 2006. Of the 120.2 MWp total at end-year, 89% represented grid-connected capacity.
New tariffs were adopted during 2007, increasing in value as the degree of PV incorporated increases (up to € 0.49/kWh and valid for 20 years). Small plants are entitled to receive a higher tariff than a large plant but all rates are reduced by 2% per annum after 2008.
During 2009 an initiative will come into force which will require at least 1 kWp of PV to be installed in new buildings.
The total glazed area of solar thermal collectors in operation in 2007 was 1 100 230 m2, giving an output capacity of about 770 MWt.
At end-2007 Japan had the second largest installed PV capacity in the group of 19 participating members of the IEA-PVPS. A total of 1 919 MWp had been installed, over twice that of the next largest country, the USA. Grid-connected capacity at 1 829 MWp represented 95% of the total.
The ending of government funding for residential PV systems in March 2006 resulted in a levelling-off of the market for privately-installed systems during 2007. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) began instead to support non-residential facilities through its Field Test Project on New Photovoltaic Power Generation Technology. During 2007 the Project applied to systems with a capacity of 10 kWp or more but during 2008 it was extended to systems of 4 kWp or more where they demonstrated new module types, building material integration and new control methods.
In 2007 METI revised the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Law, whereby new and renewable energy will account for 16 billion kWh in 2014. It has also developed the Cool Earth 50 policy, which includes a strategy for PV cells to achieve conversion efficiencies of 40% by 2050.
In July 2008 the Japanese Cabinet approved the Government's Action Plan for Achieving a Low-Carbon Society. The Action Plan includes a target for increasing solar power generation capacity by tenfold by 2020 (about 14 GWp) and 40-fold by 2030 (about 50 GWp). A second target of the Plan is to roughly halve the current price of the solar power generation system within three to five years. In order to achieve a low-carbon society, the Comprehensive Immediate Policy Package was formulated in August 2008 and includes the Action Plan for Promoting the Introduction of Solar Power Generation. Measures will be taken to stimulate both demand and supply.
METI announced in December 2008 that ¥ 9 billion would be made available during first quarter 2009 for the renewed support of residential solar systems. This funding could be increased from April 1, at the beginning of the new fiscal year.
The electric utilities have announced that they will cooperate in the building of 140 MWp PV power across 30 locations by 2020.
Between end-2006 and end-2007, installed PV capacity rose by 123% to 77.6 MWp. Of the total, grid-connected capacity accounts for 92% and has become the main area of the market to be targeted by the companies involved.
Of the large number of support measures driving 2007's strong growth, the feed-in tariff and the 100 000 rooftop programme were particularly successful. The former assisted in the installation of 28.6 MWp in 2007 and the latter with in excess of 9.2 MWp on single-family houses and rental apartments. The General Deployment Progamme, the Public Building Obligation Programme and the Local Deployment Programme are designed to promote the increased use of solar PV in the public sector and to raise the awareness of solar PV within the population.
In September 2008 the Ministry of Knowledge Economy presented its long-term strategy, Korea Goes for "Green Growth": sustainable development in a low carbon society, in which it predicts that by 2030 the Government will achieve a 44-fold increase in the use of photovoltaic energy, compared with 2007.
Asia's largest PV power plant, situated in SinAn, became fully operational in June 2008. An extension completed in September 2008 enlarged the 19.6 MWp plant to 24 MWp, sufficient to generate 35 000 MWh per annum, supplying some 7 200 households.
Spain increased its installed PV power by 512 MWp during 2007, bringing the cumulative capacity to 655 MWp of which 95% is grid-connected. The total cumulative installed capacity in 2007 was nearly five times higher than the comparable figure for 2006.
The main thrust in the growth of the Spanish PV market has been in large installations rather than in the residential sector. This is largely because the feed-in tariff has favoured large-scale plants.
The targets set by the Government's Plan for Renewable Energy covering the period to 2010 have already been exceeded. The Government is now formulating a Plan de Energías Renovables (PER) 2011-2020 which will fix binding objectives and obligatory minima regarding the share of energy derived from renewables in total energy consumption. Moreover, the PER will include individual targets for the various technologies. The details of the PER will be contained in the Ley de Eficiencia Energética y Energías Renovables, the draft of which is due to be presented during the first quarter of 2009.
The great majority of the world's largest PV power plants are located in mainland Spain. In July 2008, Nobesol announced the completion of Olmedilla de Alarcón, the world's largest PV power plant. At 60 MWp, the plant is capable of producing 85 GWh annually.
In 2007 an area of 262 000 m2 was added to the total of solar thermal collectors, for a cumulative total of 964 166 m2. The newly-installed capacity represented an increase of 50% over 2006. Total capacity in 2007 was 675 MWt. A revised building code (CTE) brought into force in September 2006 was too late to have an effect on most properties planned to be built during 2007. However, it is expected that the solar obligations contained in the CTE will have had a positive effect on the market during 2008, albeit in the context of a slow-down in the Spanish construction sector.
United States of America
Of the 19 participating members of the IEA-PVPS the USA, by end-2007, ranked third in terms of cumulative installed PV power. Some 206.5 MWp capacity was installed during the year, bringing the total to 830.5 MWp, of which 61% was grid-connected.
In 2007 California led the way with additional installed PV capacity of 81 MWp and was expected to add in excess of 133 MWp during 2008. California represents 70% of all PV installations in the U.S. and 4% of the world.
Federal tax credits, effective since 2006, helped the development of the U.S. market but were excluded from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Moreover, the Federal tax credits for both residential and commercial installations expired at end-2008. However, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 has extended the Production Tax Credit by one year, the Investment Tax Credit by eight, eliminated the US$ 2 000 cap on tax credits for residential solar-electric installations, ceased the prohibition on utilities from benefiting from the tax credit and authorised US$ 800 million for clean energy bonds for renewable generation facilities including solar power.
More than thirty State governments have set requirements for utilities to generate a percentage of electricity from renewable energy during the coming years and several States have set ambitious goals. For example the California Solar Initiative has a goal of 1 940 MWp installed PV by end-2016.
In June 2007, 13 U.S. cities were selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to be inaugural members of Solar America Cities. The objective of the scheme is to 'Partner with cities committed to achieving a sustainable solar infrastructure through a comprehensive, city-wide approach to solar technology that facilitates mainstream adoption and provides a model for others'. In March 2008, an additional 12 cities joined the programme. The 25 cities now involved are located in 16 States and six are among the 10 largest cities in the USA.