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Peering through the fog

Document type: article
Download file(s): 137993 (68 KB)
Abstract: An overview of recent solar incentive programmes is presented. For the global photovoltaic industry, 2008 was the most successful in a string of record years since 2004. The seed for this explosive growth was planted in Germany, where in late 2003 a new law raised the feed-in-tariff (FiT) to above 50 euro cents/kWh, guaranteed for 20 years. For the first time there was a solid legal and economic foundation for attractive investment in PV systems, without any restrictions on energy volumes. All incentive programmes cost money and there is a limit to what societies are willing to bear. Big-figure calculations show that, for the electricity production of 1 GW solar capacity, the FiT paid for 20 years is 7.2 billion euro.9 Total volumes installed in Germany are about 5 GW. Opponents sum up their criticism of the FiT programmes with the term ‘solar debt’. In the long term solar energy must become competitive without government incentives.10 It will have to approach the cost point of a natural gas plant, currently around 9 euro cents per kWh. With FiTs today still above 30 euro cents, PV still has a long way to go. The feasibility of commercial competitiveness depends heavily on external factors: inflation, interest rates and electricity prices. System prices have to come down to below €2 per watt peak. With silicon costs possibly approaching US$40/kg in the long term, and continued savings in the system integration area, this seems ambitious but plausible. The solar market volume can then become gigantic.
Authors: Heptner, M.
Country: Germany , Spain
Category: General
Serial number: 13
ISSN: 1874-2033
Journal: The Broker
Keywords: energy resources , sustainable development
Language: eng
Organization: The Broker
Year: 2009
Region: Europe
Right: © 2009 IDP. This article has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.
Subject: Environment and Natural Resources
Start Page: 16
Title: Peering through the fog