Monthly archives: August 2009

Green Power Conferences, the team behind the London and Washington solar forums has announced the dates for a similar conference to be held in Turkey. The Solar Turkey conference which will take place in Istanbul between the 25-26 of November will seek to highlight the massive potential for the photovoltaic industry in Turkey over the coming years.

The potential for solar energy growth in Turkey has created excitement in the industry with comparable conditions for solar in Turkey as in Spain with an average solar radiation of 1311kWh/m2. The conference, to be held at the Movenpick Hotel in the Turkish capital will look in to a number of business opportunities for those interested in investing in the Turkish solar market.

The conference will also provide opportunities for networking with time for attendees to investigate suitable and advantageous business partners for working within the Turkish market. Similarly, the conference will highlight various PV technologies and systems available in the market and offer advice as to the benefits of each within the industry.

As a relatively unknown market the conference will offer expert advice and information regarding the Turkish solar industry and will give attendees a valuable insight into facts, figures and projections for the future of the industry. Also, advice will be given as to vertical market opportunities in Turkey with debates with market regulators to determine the best ways to meet the requirements of the solar market there.

Attendees will have an opportunity to network with the following:

  • Banks
  • Federal & State regulators
  • Utilities
  • Capital Venture Firms
  • Solar distributors & Installers
  • R&D companies
  • Legal experts
  • Industry analysts

The New York Times has run an editorial highlighting mistakes made by the Spanish government in subsidising their solar industry in recent years. While Spain was held up as an example of how strong feed-in tariff (FIT) laws can greatly encourage investment and growth within up and coming renewable industries, amendments made by President Zapatero’s government have caused a crash in the photovoltaic market in Spain.

The essential problem of the Spanish tariff which was introduced back in 2007 was that it had no long term provisions or ideas of how to be market reactive in the case of various investment paterns. The generous tariff offered 0.44 euros per kW of energy fed back in to the national grid. The Spanish government anticipated a steady investment pattern over a period of years, however, the media interest along with the high yields made possible by the tariffs caused a short term boom in the solar industry.

In response to the inundation of solar installations across Spain, the government was forced to make changes to the tariff system. With many already signed into investment scheme the government pulled the rug out from under them by reducing the tariff incentives by 30%. With investors already tied into long term deals and with large quantities of PV equipment already being shipped from manufacturing bases in China, many had there fingers burnt by a solar industry which had been created artificially over a short period of time.

Santiago Seage, the CEO of Abengoa Solar SA commented on the situation saying, “What’s important for the regulation of solar is stability. Unfortunately, up to now, we have had too many changes and if the context changes, you can make mistakes in business decisions.”

The Spanish lesson, as set out in the New York Times indicates clearly the need for a tariff which both encourages strong growth of the industry but also offers long term stability by not creating an artificial market with tariff levels which are too high. Germany perhaps offers the best example of long term stability with a healthy PV market capable of being market reactive.

With regards to market stability, Julie Blunden from the US company SunPower Corp was quoted in the New York Times as saying,

“The most important lesson, which everyone has learned, is that if you’re going to establish a feed-in tariff, you need to figure out how to make it market-responsive.”

The recent news that the UK government will be introducing a feed-in tariff system in order to encourage the growth of renewable energy has been well received by advocates of clean energy production who see it as the best way of achieving grid parity with non-renewable sources in the future.

The UK government set climate change goals at an 80 per cent reduction of carbon emissions by 2050. This, along with the European Union which has set the target of a 20 per cent take up of renewable energy production by 2020 means that governments of all member states have been taking some form of action to reach targets set both by their own government and of course diversify their means of energy production.

A document released by the British government entitled ‘Consultation on renewable electricity financial incentives 2009’ has set out the UKs plan to roll out feed-in tariffs within the next 12 months. In the report Lord Hunt stated,

“feed-in tariffs will open up renewable energy generation beyond the traditional energy companies. It will enable communities to come together and invest in generating renewable electricity. It will make it easier for householders and business to finance their own electricity generation. It will help us all play our part in renewing our electricity supply”.

The points set out in the report and explained by Lord Hunt concisely illustrate the obvious benefits of feed-in tariffs which will have the duel effect of reducing carbon emissions through the adoption of solar while also helping the economy through job creation and the growth of the photovoltaic sector from manufacturing through to installation companies.

With Gordon Brown recently declaring his desire to create a green economy through the introduction of tariffs, it is certainly the view of many within the government that this system will be the most effective means of doing it.

In a bid to increase profitability among its offshore wind farms, China has introduced a feed-in tariff system designed to make the generation of electricity via wind farms economically viable. China has recently been a leading advocate of the tariff system as the Beijing government seeks to diversify both the economy and the means of energy generation. With the New York Times last week announcing that green power is taking root in China, the move to encourage the take up of wind power generation comes as no surprise as the Asian government is supporting all kinds of renewable energy, especially solar and wind.

The Chinese wind feed-in tariff system will inevitably attract investments in the offshore wind generation industry there with the hope that it will enable the clean, wind energy to compete with that generated via coal fired plants. The guaranteed premium rate which will be offered to wind generators will be met by the existing grid operators with the additional cost being spread over all electricity consumers. The idea is that bigger, more profitable wind plants will receive a more generous tariff rate in order to help them catch up with the bigger wind farms.

The tariff payments are set at around 0.51 Yuan the equivalent of £0.05 per unit of electricity fed in to the grid, depending on the size of the wind farm. Compared with the rate paid for coal fired electricity (0.34 Yuan) the wind farms will e set to receive a generous payment. The announcement by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) stated that the scheme will,

“change current inconsistent pricing, foster clear expectations and facilitate investments in the sector”.

The previous system which operated regarding wind power electricity purchasing involved public bidding using low-rate tariffs which did not enable most wind farms to gain grid connectivity, a hindrance which meant that at least 20 per cent of China’s wind power producers were unprofitable. With the feed-in tariff system generally regarded as by far the most effective means of generating capital in green energy, China will be set to succeed in its bid to diversify its economy and become a major player in the world of green energy production.