German Development Bank Kfw which is owned by the German government is planning to invest 800 million Euros in Indian Renewable Energy Sector.Note Kfw is one of the biggest funding institutions in Germany for renewable energy projects giving concessional interest rates.The Bank will use its extensive expertise in the alternative energy and energy efficiency areas to extend its business in India as well.Renewable Energy in India is expected to see a massive expansion in the next decade and will require massive amounts of debt and equity.Kfw alongwith other developmental institutions like ADB and World Bank have a big role to play.Note Debt is quite expensive in India and these institutions provide loans at a much cheaper rate making renewable energy projects viable.ADB has already formed a JV with NTPC and is looking to rescue JNNSM as well.IFC is funding numerous clean projects in India following its developmental mandate as well.
There are only 2 Solar Energy ETFs in the Market right now – TAN and KWT.Note buying solar ETF provides a less risky way of investing in solar energy as some stocks can dramatically underperform in this fast growing industry.However Solar ETFs will on the other hand perform much worse than the best performing stocks in the solar universe.This is because their holdings are also concentrated on some of the lesser quality companies.KWT and TAN are better investments for the less informed and less sophisticated investors.Amongst the 2 ETFs,KWT is the better option than TAN for a number of reasons which are described below.
Polysilicon or refined silicon is the raw material behind most of the world’s consumer electronics.Polysilicon is used to make both solar and semiconductor silicon wafers.Silicon wafers are used in making chips which are used by the Intels and Samsungs of the world while Solar Wafers are used in making solar crystalline panels used in generating electricity from the sun.Most of the world’s major solar energy companies used c-Si Technology in making solar panels.Polysilicon is an energy intensive process which requires cheap electricity.The polysilicon is produced mostly in the western countries like Japan,USA and Germany now.However the rise of solar panel producers in Asia has given rise to large volume Asian producers of polysilicon as well.Note Polysilicon production is concentrated in the hands of 8-9 companies unlike solar panel production which is done by hundreds of companies.This is a capital intensive process and requires around 2 years to complete a single plant.Semiconductors require higher purity levels of Polysilicon than the solar industry.The massive increase in demand from the solar industry has led to massive growth in poly production.Here are a list of the main polysilicon companies in the world
France recently halted its solar subsidy program for 3 months for solar installations under 3 kw as it was deluged with a large number of applications.Solar Feed in Tariffs are quite generous for certain type of solar panel installations like BIPV and greenhouses.This combined with rapidly falling solar panel prices primarly due to low cost Chinese manufacturing has made the business extremely lucrative.Note France is not the first country to see a massive flood of solar applications.Spain,Czech,Germany,Australia have faced problems with solar feed in tariff programs mainly because of poor design by slow moving bureaucrats.However most of these countries have never blamed cheap Chinese panel imports for their badly designed programs.Germany which is the undisputed solar market leader did for a while raise the Chinese bogey but it was for a short while.Anyone with a little understanding of the solar industry would know that almost 50% of the value is created in installation which is all done locally.Also most of the polysilicon raw material is made in the West as also most of the equipment used in producing panels in China.
Germany is almost certain to cut the solar feed in tariff in 2011 on top of the regular 13% decrease.Note Germany is the largest solar market in the world by far and installed an astounding 8 GW of solar panels in 2010.With almost 18 GW of total solar installations,the German solar energy capacity is almost half of the world’s capacity despite bad conditions for solar energy.Germany had set a target of around 4-5 GW of solar energy this year in the upper case and this has been vastly exceeded as solar module price cuts have made it attractive to install solar panels.