Monday, March 22, 2010

World Solar Market grew to 6.43 GW in 2009, according to Solarbuzz

World solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 6.43 gigawatt (GW) in 2009, representing growth of 6% over the previous year.

The PV industry generated $38 billion in global revenues in 2009, while successfully raising over $13.5 billion in equity and debt, up 8% on the prior year.

European countries accounted for 4.75 GW, or 74% of world demand in 2009. The top three countries in Europe were Germany, Italy and Czech Republic, which collectively accounted for 4.07 GW. All three countries experienced soaring demand, with Italy becoming the second largest market in the world.

In contrast, Spanish demand in 2009 collapsed to just 4% of its prior year level.

Of total European demand, net solar cell imports accounted for 74% of the total.

The third largest market in the world was the United States, which grew 36% to 485 MW. Following closely behind was a rejuvenated Japan, which took fourth spot, growing 109%.

The analysis in the new Marketbuzz 2010 report references 112 countries across the world in 2009.

World solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 9.34 GW in 2009, up from 6.85 GW a year earlier, with thin film production accounting for 18% of that total. China and Taiwanese production continued to build share and now account for 49% of global cell production.

The Top 7 polysilicon manufacturers had 114,500 tonnes per annum of capacity in 2009, up 92% on their 2008 level, while the Top 8 wafer manufacturers accounted for 32.9% of global wafer capacity in 2009.

The excess of solar cell production over market demand caused weighted crystalline silicon module price average for 2009 to crash 38% over the prior year level. This reduction in crystalline silicon prices also had the effect of eroding their percentage premium to thin film factory gate pricing.

Looking forward, the industry will return to high growth in 2010 and also over the next 5 years. Even in the slowest growth scenario, the global market will be 2.5 times its current size by 2014. Under the Production Led scenario, the fastest growing forecast, annual industry revenues approach $100 billion by 2014.

After providing a comprehensive look back at 2009 industry results, the new Marketbuzz™ 2010 report devotes one third of its content to 2010 - 2014 forecast outcomes, including a thorough preview of market developments, policies, prices and production requirements, which will be essential to help shape corporate strategies over this period. Manufacturing costs, gross margins and capital expenditure profiles are also addressed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

World's wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009

The Global Wind Energy Council today announced that the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 GW to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW. A third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth.

“The continued rapid growth of wind power despite the financial crisis and economic downturn is testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology, which is clean, reliable and quick to install. Wind power has become the power technology of choice a growing number of countries around the world,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General. “Copenhagen didn’t bring us any closer to a global price on carbon, but wind energy continued to grow due to national energy policy in our main markets and also because many governments in prioritised renewable energy development in their economic recovery plans,” he said.

Wind energy is now an important player in the world’s energy markets. The global wind market for turbine installations in 2009 was worth about 45 bn EUR or 63 bn US$. GWEC estimates that around half a million people are now employed by the wind industry around the world.

The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new wind capacity in 2009.

China was the world’s largest market in 2009, nearly doubling its wind generation capacity from 12.1 GW in 2008 to 25.1 GW at the end of 2009 with new capacity additions of 13 GW.

“The Chinese government is taking very seriously its responsibility to limit CO2 emissions while providing energy for its growing economy. China is putting strong efforts into developing the country’s tremendous wind resource. Given the current growth rates, it can be expected that the even the unofficial target of 150 GW will be met well ahead of 2020,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

Newly added capacity of 1,270 MW in India and some smaller additions in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan make Asia the biggest regional market for wind energy in 2009, with more than 14 GW of new capacity.

However, the US continues to have a comfortable lead in terms of total installed capacity. Against all expectations, the US wind energy market installed nearly 10 GW in 2009, increasing the country’s installed capacity by 39% and bringing the total installed, grid-connected capacity to 35 GW. In early 2009, some analysts had foreseen a drop in wind power development of as much as 50%, but the implementation of the US Recovery Act with its strong focus on wind energy development in the summer reversed this trend.

“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing is down compared to last year’s levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow.”

Europe, which has traditionally been the world’s largest market for wind energy development, continued to see strong growth, also exceeding expectations. In 2009, 10.5 GW were installed in Europe, led by Spain (2.5GW) and Germany (1.9 GW). Italy, France and the UK all added more than 1 GW of new wind capacity each.

“It is a remarkable result in a difficult year” said Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association. “The figures, once again, confirm that wind power, together with other renewable energy technologies and a shift from coal to gas, are delivering massive European carbon reductions, while creating much needed economic activity and new jobs for Europe’s citizens.”

“Wind energy is already making a significant contribution to saving CO2 emissions. The 158GW of global wind capacity in place at the end of 2009 will produce 340 TWh of clean electricity and save 204 million tons of CO2 every year,” concluded Sawyer. “As we see in Europe and the US, wind power is now often the most attractive option for new power generation, both in economic and environmental terms, and for improved supply security.”
Ref: World Wind Energy Council

Monday, March 15, 2010

UN to review IPCC Report on Himalayan Glaciers

The UN called in the world's top scientists to review a report by its climate body, four months after public confidence in the science of global warming was shaken by the discovery of a mistake about the melting rates of Himalayan glaciers.

In an announcement at the UN in New York Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, and Rajendra Pachauri, the much-criticised head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the InterAcademy Council, which represents 15 national academies of science, would conduct the independent review.

The announcement follows months of controversy which, while not altering the scientific consensus on climate change, has given fresh ammunition to opponents of action on global warming.

Pachauri has faced calls for his resignation, a controversy he acknowledged obliquely today. "We have received some criticism. We are receptive and sensitive to that and we are doing something about it," he said.

The review, which is to complete its work by August, will not undertake a dissection of the 2007 report, which has been pored over by climate sceptics, or re-examine the scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change, said Robert Dijksgraaf, the head of the InterAcademy Council.

"It will definitely not go over vast amounts of data," he told reporters. "Our goal will be to assure nations around the world that they will receive sound scientific advice on climate science."

Instead, he said it would focus on putting in place better quality control procedures for the next report, which is due in 2014.

These would include guidelines for dealing with material that has not undergone peer review such as the item on Himalayan glaciers.

One focus of the review would be the role played by Pachauri who has been criticised for his handling of the error when it first came to light.

Djiksgraaf also said the panel, likely to be made up of 10 experts, would also look at procedures for making corrections in a timely and transparent manner.

The report has been pored over by climate sceptics for errors since last November when it emerged that the IPCC had stated, wrongly, that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. As Pachauri and Ban noted today, the solid body of the 3,000 page report remained unchallenged.

The discovery of the error goes to the core of criticism of Pachauri whose first response to questions about the accuracy of the IPCC's prediction on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers was to dismiss it as "voodoo science".

Pachauri had also rankled critics by refusing to apologise for the mistakes.

But a spokesman for Pachauri today said the IPCC had initiated the independent review, and had pressed the UN to call in the scientists.

In his brief comments, Pachauri said the work of the IPCC, which shared a Nobel prize with Al Gore in 2007, remained the gold standard of climate science. "We believe the conclusions of that report are really beyond any reasonable doubt," Pachauri said.

Environmental and science organisations supported the UN's decision.

"This is the right move," said Peter Frumhoff, the science director for the Union of Concerned Scientist and a lead author on the IPCC report.

"If this independent review is carried out with rigour and transparency, it will help strengthen the IPCC's commitment to robust scientific assessments and restore public confidence that has been shaken by an aggressive campaign to sow confusion about climate science."

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