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Sun Shine Powers new PVs

By Dave Armstrong - 01 Aug 2014 11:10:0 GMT
Sun Shine Powers new PVs

The sun supplies reproduction in the canola, growth in the trees and electricity from the PV cells in this photograph; Canola image; Credit: © Shutterstock

While the US imposes anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese and Taiwanese photovoltaic cells and modules, the development of European and American PVs goes on. While SolarWorld Industries in Oregon and the thin-film PV makers First Solar Inc. make a small part of US photovoltaics sales, SunPower Corp of California and RE Solar ASA of Norway manufacture in Malaysia and Singapore. They will be better able to take advantage of the loss of Chinese competition.

Meanwhile, back in China, Renesola Ltd, in Jiashan have emerged as the most reliable PV producers. PV Evolution Labs tested dynamic mechanical load, damp heat, potential induced degradation and "humidity-freeze" in 10 different companies' products. Unfortunately, we can't say which newer types of PV cell might make a much more efficient solar energy conversion on your roof yet. Perhaps the changes are so rapid that we can't tell which module performs better in the varied light conditions and attitudes that they are placed in. We'll keep looking though!

In Germany, SolarWorld AG have been busier, with a 53% increase in shipments recently. They sold more products in the UK, US and France, as well as at home (where the market has weakened.) This is consistent with the earthwide number of installations. We all now have 39GW installed (2013 figures), outpacing the wind power industry and equalling the more established hydropower business. That's only 0.5% of the generated electricity coming from all solar power, but the growth of 30% in consumption indicates a rapid rise (ie. a possible 0.7% next year !), assuming that reliability and long-term efficiency measured by Renesola gives people the confidence to install more.

The crucial area of investment gives a clearer picture of future growth. The drop from a universal $142.9 billion to only $113.7 billion last year marked a 20% drop there. The positive side was the natural drop in costs and prices as manufacturers struggled to increase sales again. Costs per watt also dropped to $0.63, as Asia took over from Europe as the biggest market.

Australia is one of the leading solar rooftop continents, despite its size. Retail electricity there now costs more than solar generated energy, in a similar fashion to prices in Brazil, Denmark, Italy and Germany and 10 other nations. For more heavy loads of renewable energy, we have a mass of information on how solar power is developing in so many different ways, as well as in the PV business in - Earth Times on Solar Power.