China and Japan are whipping up demand in the solar panel market that could lead to the biggest boom the polysilicon industry has experienced since a price war started three years ago. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted that demand for the commodity used to make solar PV cells will jump 15 per cent this year, the most since 2011, on the back of a year that saw renewable energy systems like solar and wind rivaling fossil fuels for new generation capacity added worldwide.
In terms of solar, about 44.5GW of capacity is expected to be added around the world this year, a 21 per cent increase over 2013, with China and Japan set to account for half of this total amount. “We are seeing a massive recovery in the entire solar industry, also in polysilicon,” said Stefan De Haan, a solar analyst at IHS Inc. “2013 was the year of the turnaround, and the situation will further improve in 2014.”
“Japan has a fantastic subsidy that’s fueling a domestic boom,” said Jenny Chase, lead solar analyst at New Energy Finance in Zurich. And China, which became the leading solar market last year, has significant demand and government support for new projects, Chase said. “The entire polysilicon industry will benefit from this.”
In other news…
ASX-listed wind power group Infigen Energy has announced its third quarter FY14 results, showing a 5 per cent increase in the company’s group revenue (from the previous corresponding period, or pcp) to $78.9 million, despite a 2 per cent decline in group production, to 1,219GWh. Production was down 10 per cent on the pcp in Australia, a drop the company says reflects less favourable wind conditions at its wind farms in New South Wales and South Australia. US production was up 1% on the pcp. In Australia, Q3 revenue of $32.6 million was down 9 per cent, or $3.1 million on the pcp, a decline Infigen attributes to lower production and lower market prices for large-scale generation certificates.
Solar Juice has formed a distribution partnership – effective immediately – with US smart module maker, Tigo Energy, to distribute Tigo’s industry leading retrofit optimizer product in Australia, as well a line of smart modules made by Trina Solar which have a Tigo optimizer embedded in the solar module junction box. Tigo’s technology incorporates module-level maximum power point tracking (MPPT) which allow for design flexibility, shade tolerance, and increased energy harvest. The technology also improves system safety with remote and automatic shutdown at the module-level and enables monitoring of every module in the array.