The European Photovoltaic Industry Association says the world’s solar power generating capacity will grow by between 200 and 400 per cent over the next five years, with Asia and other emerging markets overtaking leadership from Europe. Reuters reports that the EPIA predicted that the fastest PV capacity growth is expected in China and India, followed by the southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa in the next five years. It predicts global installed PV capacity to rise to between 207.9 gigawatts and 342.8 GW in 2016, depending on the level of political support, from 69.7 GW in 2011.
Germany, the world’s biggest PV market, is likely to be the main global driver this year, followed by China, the United States and Japan. The pace of growth will slow in Italy, which was the fastest growing solar market in 2011. Reuters said China is expected to add between 3GW and 5GW this year with new annual capacity rising to 4.5-10GW in 2016, and a total capacity of 39.1GW, just shading the US, where capacity is seen rising up to 37.1GW.
The EPIA said that depending on the policy support, global PV capacity may add between 20.6GW and 41.4 GW in 2013 and keep rising by between 38.8GW and 77.3GW in 2016, the report said. Germany is expected to see a slower but still steady annual capacity growth in the next five years with a total installed capacity rising to between 39.7GW and 52.7GW in 2016, while Italy is seen reaching a total of 23-30.8GW in 2016, the EPIA said.
Big solar a go go
The US has activated its first utility-scale solar PV plant on public land, inaugurating a 50MW power plant in Nevada’s Invanpah Valley that was built by First Solar and is now owned by Canadian oil pipeline company Enbridge, Bloomberg reports. The Silver State North plant was opened by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose department has approved 29 wind, solar and geothermal projects on public land since 2009 as part of a plan to install 10,000MW of non-hydro renewable power capacity by this year, three years earlier than mandated by Congress. “Today is a landmark for America, a landmark for the solar industry and a landmark for how we use our public lands,” Salazar said in a speech dedicating the project. “We are making believers out of sceptics. A lot of people would have said three years ago that this day would never come.” The agency has approved 16 solar projects with 5,636MW of capacity, eight geothermal plants with 424MW and five wind farms with capacity of 548MW. The Interior Department plans to review 17 additional proposals this year for about 7,000 megawatts, Bloomberg reported.
Offshore wind breaker
And while the US has achieved a solar milestone this week with the opening of Invanpah, the country’s progress in offshore wind has hit a wall, with Spanish wind group Gamesa suspending plans to install what may have become the first US offshore turbine. The northern Spain-based company says it has postponed the deployment of a 5MW prototype in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay because of doubts about permitting and sales prospects, and will move forward with a similar project on home territory. David Rosenberg, a spokesman for the company, said there were no offshore wind turbines in North America, and that it was not clear when demand would arise. Rosenberg told Bloomberg in an interview that when Gamesa initiated the Virginia project about two years ago, the company “felt the market was moving along rather nicely.” The project won state approval in March and installation was expected to be completed by late 2013. But now, says Rosenberg, analysis of market conditions differs completely. “We thought the market would be ready, but there are a number of conditions that have prevented a commercial market from being here.” Gamesa was developing the prototype with Huntington Ingalls Industries’ shipbuilding unit.
Carbon tax challenge would fail, says Newman
Despite his vocal opposition to the federal government’s carbon tax, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has revealed his government will not be joining any legal challenge against it, citing legal advice that a High Court challenge would fail. “We’re not going to waste taxpayers money given it indicates that, sadly, the federal drafters of this have done a good job of making it very bullet-proof,” Mr Newman told 2GB radio. “I’ve also talked to at least one other state leader about this, and they’ve had similar advice so we’re not going to waste the taxpayers money,” he said, adding “But I wish I could.” AAP reports that Newman has described the tax as “economic madness,” and said he would have joined the legal action if the chances of beating it “had been 50/50.” Newman argues that the tax will compromise Queensland’s ability to process resources locally.