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Sat Aug 10, 2013, 09:56 AM

The Massive Demand For Solar In Asia Shows Us Where The Industry Is Headed [View all]

The Massive Demand For Solar In Asia Shows Us Where The Industry Is Headed
BY JEFF SPROSS ON AUGUST 9, 2013 AT 10:18 AM


This year’s second quarter saw a massive surge in solar panel shipments, with three of the four largest manufacturers outdoing projections by as much as 32 percent, Bloomberg reports. Much of that was due to rising demand in Asia, where China and Japan could soon make up half the global demand for solar — with China in particular planning to double its solar capacity to about 10 gigawatts this year, and increase it by five times by 2015. According to Stefan Linder, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), that swelling demand should soak up much of the oversupply solar manufacturers were recently struggling under. At the end of July, BNEF reported recovering solar stocks as well.

Solar’s prices may soon compete with those of traditional utilities without the aid of subsidies — something that Deustche Bank’s latest market research calls a “third growth phase.” That doubles down on a similar finding the Germany-based financing and banking giant put out earlier this year. Thanks to balancing levels of supply and demand in both China and the rest of the global market, the cost of solar modules is stabilizing at 60 to 70 cents per watt, while the cost of installation has reached $1 to $1.20 per watt. Put it all together and solar’s levelized cost — the overall price at which it can deliver electricity generation when accounting for all its lifecycle inputs — is between 10 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour for large portions of the globe.

According to Deutsche Bank, that leaves solar power hitting grid parity in eleven major markets worldwide — Los Angeles, Hawaii, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Greece — meaning its levelized cost can compete unsubsidized with traditional sources of electricity. The report also sees the potential for solar to cross that threshold in 10 to 20 other markets within the next 3 years. As soon as 2014, according to Deutsche Bank, three-fourths of the global solar market could be “sustainable” — i.e. competitive without subsidies.

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On the research and development end, Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) is working on rooftop solar kits that can be assembled like an IKEA product and attached to a roof without drilling or infrastructure. A compact wireless system would then integrate with the local utility using a preset system. In essence: a user-friendly plug-and-play solar system that should escape the need for rooftop inspection or permitting processes. CSE just received $11.7 million from the Department of Energy to try to develop the system within 5 years.

Now, critics of government subsidies might...


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/09/2441061/how-asias-booming-market-heralds-a-worldwide-turnaround-for-solar/

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Reply The Massive Demand For Solar In Asia Shows Us Where The Industry Is Headed [View all]
kristopher Aug 2013 OP
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