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Hopes and Fears: The Prospects of Solar Energy Industry

20.09.2017 — 0

In the early 2017, analysts predicted that solar energy industry is expected to become the world’s largest source of energy by midcentury. There is indeed a long way ahead. However, much has been already achieved, and it’s worth briefly reviewing how the industry developed over the last few decades.

In the recent years, global solar industry experienced a period of volatility that was partly caused by the changing market regulations and policies to support the industry. The other reason for being volatile were price fluctuations in the fossil fuels markets. Roughly speaking, solar power becomes less attractive as the fossil fuel prices decline. However, since the latter might be repleted in the next 100 years, solar power has a brighter future in the long-term.

The major regulatory milestones have been, first, the introduction of favourable solar tariffs in Germany in the 2000s that fueled the growth of the industry in Europe during that decade; second, the investment tax credit for alternative-energy stocks introduced by the U.S. helped propel solar installations in 2015. However, and perhaps more importantly, it incentivized people to invest into solar companies’ stocks, thus helping the industry become more established in the eyes of the financial markets.

Another recent global trends is the solar boom in Asia that has occurred since 2013. Between 2015 and 2016, China has outperformed Germany in terms of total installed solar capacity, having increased its score by adding 34540 MW and reached the level of 78070 MW. Japan also rose up to the second place in the global top-5, reaching the level of 42750 MW in the same year.

World Top-5 Counties by Total Installed Solar Power Capacity (MW), 2015–2016:

Previously, wind energy was considered as the main option for commercial renewable energy, while solar power was treated more as the option for private installations and energy generation. That is no longer the case. Moreover, now solar power is cost-competitive with traditional energy, and the industry no longer relies exclusively on subsidies that manipulate regular supply-demand dynamics, although they still play an important role in supporting the industry development.

**Picture credit: SSREN Report **

All this signifies an assuring and healthy long-term future of the solar energy. Many countries around the world — including Mexico, Chile and the United Arab Emirates — have chosen solar power over fossil fuels. In Mexico, solar has outperformed wind on the auction for a new electricity capacity, winning 74% of the available capacity, while leaving 24% for wind, and the remaining 2% for hydropower and combined natural gas. Similar auctions in the large countries of Latin America, e.g. Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, will drive the development of actual power plants in the coming years, creating a long-term demand from new energy contracts. There is also an emerging worldwide sentiment in support of solar energy, that regards it as being at the forefront of renewable energy generation.

Solar Price

Prices are another important factor that shapes the future of the solar energy. Most importantly, the price of solar panels has decreased steadily over the last decade due to technological advances. Second, the fluctuations in the fossil fuels markets, especially the decline of oil prices also help the solar industry indirectly.

In summary, there is a bright future ahead of solar energy, yet it is not coming very soon.** Join **Solar DAO to make it happen sooner — and make profits in doing so. The core ICO for SDAO tokens starts this October.

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Solar News, #1

19.09.2017 — 0

What’s going on in the solar industry now? Most important highlights in the dedicated digest by Solar DAO.

This week many interesting things happened in the solar industry worldwide: new PV plants auctions, policy initiatives, construction projects and more.

News and Events

Kazakhstan and Brazil remain at the forefront of PV solar industry support and development.

As reports, the Brazilian energy agency EPE has announced a new energy auction to be held in December. More than 574 PV solar projects of 18,352 MW total capacity have registered with the agency to participate in the auction, amounting to 34% of the 1676 projects submitted across all technologies combined, including biomass, hydro, and wing (the latter covering another 55.5% of the total number of projects).

Most of the solar registrations are in the states of Bahia (4,758), Piaui (3,354), Rio Grande do Norte (2,978), and Ceara (1,575). The EPE will conduct extensive analysis of the projects submitted until November 15th, and the actual auction will take place on 18 December. Grid connection for the winners is expected to be completed by January 2021.

In Kazakhstan, **Astana hosted the First Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on science and technology “Science and technology, innovation and modernization in Islamic world” **that gathered participants from 56 Muslim majority states to discuss technological issues related to greener energy. The presidents of Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan attended the event, as well as government ministers of other nations.

The attendees have pledged to introduce further greenhouse gas reductions by aiming at 10% renewable energy share in the national energy portfolios of the member countries of Organization of Islamic Cooperation by 2025. Other initiatives discussed at the Summit include the introduction of microgrids, support for distributed standalone energy systems for small communities, and designing new energy storage systems for small storage applications. The representatives of the member countries also reaffirmed their commitments to the goals set forth in OIC 2025: Plan of Action and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030).

The Astana Declaration, collectively adopted by the participants, proposes to develop “a joint policy framework to facilitate movement and employment of professionals, mutual recognition of diplomas, the inflow of new technologies and projects. In this regard we welcome the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan “The Islamic Infrastructure Integration” aimed at ensuring the integration of the infrastructure in the field of transport, energy, trade and investment.”

Earlier this year, Kazakhstan has hosted “Astana EXPO 2017”, an exhibition and a policy forum on sustainable development and renewable energy technologies and solutions.

PV Growth in Southeast Asia

Following the “Asian solar boom” trend set by China and Japan in the last three years, this September several large PV solar projects have been commissioned in India and Vietnam.

Vietnam has been an active arena for new PV solar construction projects since May, when Power Generation Corporation 3, a unit of the national utility company, Electricity of Vietnam, revealed plans to build 350 MW of solar plants in Ninh Thuan province. In June, the Vietnam’s TTC Group started the fundraising campaign to develop 1 GW of solar capacity at up to 20 regions throughout the country.

Later this year, in August, the Thien Tan Investment and Construction started building a 19.2 MW solar plant in Quang Nam province, and Hanhwa and BCG Band Duong announced plans to invest $100 million in a 100 MW solar project in Long An province. The construction is expected to begin next year. In September, the South Korean company Dohwa Engineering started construction of a 49.5 MW solar installation in central Vietnam, in Quang Binh province, to be completed by the end of 2018.

In April the Vietnamese government told the public that it plans to introduce a new FIT of $0.091 per kWh for the support of utility-scale PV projects, as the current FIT expires in April 2019. Before that, however, the World Bank has announced the plan to build new solar capacity projects with the floor price of $0.0935 for the trial auctions.

This month Vikram Solar, the Indian solar module manufacturer and EPC contractor commissioned the two solar projects of 40 MW each for Gujarat Industries Power. The area of the installations is 385 acres of land in the city of Charanka (Northwest). The projects were developed under the auspices of the National Solar Mission of India.

Vikram’s 250,429 solar modules will generate 1.89 million GWh of annual electricity supply. The Kolkata-based company will also provide O&M services to Gujarat Industries Power for 10 years since the date of commissioning. Earlier this year, in April, Vikram completed 130 MW of photovoltaic capacity in Rajasthan, building the two 65 MW solar arrays near the city of Bhadla for the NTPC, a power producer company based in New Delhi. This June, Vikram reached the annual capacity of 1 GW, and aims to increase its PV module output to 2 GW per year by 2020.

New Construction Projects in Europe and Russia

**Orsk Solar Power Plant, the largest solar plant of Russia, has increased its capacity from 25 MW to 40 MW **this August. The construction of additional modules started in October 2016. Now the plant operates 160,11 thousands of solar modules located on the area of 100 hectares of land. Since its commissioning in 2015, the plant has generated 55 million kWh of electricity, reaching a spectacular 100 tonnes of air pollution reduction.

In the Netherlands a new floating PV power farm is being tested in the western part of Rotterdam port area, according to the announcement made by Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch water management agency and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

The pilot project is now being installed at De Slufter, a depot for contaminated dredging spoil in the port area of Rotterdam. The agency announced plans to make water surfaces and other land it controls available for photovoltaic installations, as well as for other renewable energy power plants. The market for the floating solar panels was estimated at $1.5 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $1.58 billion by 2022, growing 113.9% during 6 years.

**Read our next posts about solar stocks and photovoltaics value chain. **Stay tuned with Solar DAO.

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