dinsdag 3 april 2012

2012: The transition year for solar energy

Photovoltaic solar energy is at a turning point in its young history.
It will be the year in which:
- China will grow into a global leading top 3 PV market.
- The German market will continue to grow and prosper despite strong FiT decreases.
- The Belgian people will discover that it is still very attractive to invest in PV despite the reduction in certificate price and disappearance of the tax advantage.
- The Dutch market will start a strong growth because there are no incentives available and the government has no role to play anymore.
- A sunny climate and growing economy (India, China, Chile, Brazil, Turkey, etc.) will be more important than incentives in terms of market growth.
- ‘Diesel parity’ (solar + storage is cheaper than diesel-generated power) has been reached in major markets such as India.
- Spain will reach grid parity for residential PV systems – and this without any incentives, as the government will increase energy prices.
- Italy reached grid parity for residential applications because energy prices are already high, there is an abundance of sunshine and the business infrastructure is in place.
- Solar energy storage will become a serious topic since solar energy is too cheap to simply supply back to the grid at the time of production.
- In India, more projects will be developed for other reasons than being stimulated by the National Solar Mission.
- Japan is closing down nuclear plants and is ready to invest in renewables and massive solar application.
- Investors discover that, by replacing modules after 25 years, a solar power plant is the best and most secure investment, generating increasing cash flows for more than 50 years.
- Middle East countries find out that it makes more sense to use solar PV for domestic electricity production and sell the expensive oil.
- Europe will build more new solar power capacity than any other electricity generation technology.
- South Africa will set the trend as the gateway for solar application on the African continent.
- The development of the world’s first 1000 MW single PV project will kick off.
- The market will change for residential customers from ‘Solar is interesting from an investment perspective benefiting from incentives’ to ‘Solar is interesting as it saves money on your energy bill.’
- Not only will modules become cheaper once again, but inverters as well due to industry developments and competition from China.

Furthermore, the industry will discover that future market development is not dependent on new technology developments, but on the transition towards new and smart business models. Indeed, the "winner" in terms of the Internet was not the inventor of the technical Internet technology, but the smart guys from Google who used that technology to offer new services based on it. In 2012, don’t look for the new solar module types and technology improvements – but rather  watch the companies that offer you free solar modules on your roof and energy at a price below current grid prices.

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