Global solar giants say Australia risks going backwards

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Solar giants say policy uncertainty makes Australia rare black-spot in global market – going backwards in midst of global clean energy revolution.

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Two of the biggest solar manufacturers in the world have raised concern about potential changes to Australia’s renewable energy target, saying that it will have a major impact on development.

Yingli Solar, the world’s largest solar module manufacturer, overnight cited Australia as virtually the only black spot in a world market that is seeing massive growth.

CEO Liansheng Miao said the company has seen a significant uptick in demand China as well as emerging markets in South America, south-east Asia and Africa.

Opportunities in the other major markets – US, Japan and the UK continued to grow – as well as emerging markets such as Israel, Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa.

jordan-energy-sector-topIn Australia, however, global head of sales Darren Thompson says its team is facing several “headwinds”. Chief among these were the review of the RET Review, and the uncertainty over the impact on the growing commercial scale market.

“In Australia, the federal government continues to review the mechanism which currently supports solar system up to 100 kilowatt peak under the renewable energy target,” Thompson said

“This combined with the anti-dumping case creates some uncertainty in the marketplace.”

The assessment of Yingli follows an even bleaker outlook expressed by Canadian Solar, one of the top four manufacturers in the world, which made a formal submission to the RET Review panel.

“It is our strong view that, at a time when the whole world is experiencing a clean energy revolution, Australia’s renewable energy sector is losing momentum and is in fact going backwards, as evidenced by a marked decrease in renewable energy investment and installation,” country manager Daniel Ruoss wrote.

Although many components that made up renewable energy generation are imported, he said there is significant scope for cost reductions in the assembly, distribution and even financing of renewable energy generation.

“Canadian Solar’ position is that the future of renewable energy in Australia will require an unchanged RET and political will to support the industry in meeting the goals with complementing measures, such as ARENA and other required organisations. “

Yingli, meanwhile, says it expects to ship up to 4.2GW of capacity across the globe in 2014, a 25 per cent increase on last year. Profit margins are also widening following increased sales to higher-price markets such as Japan, where shipments rose 30 per cent in the last quarter.

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