As usual France has followed Italy in boosting solar manufacturing industry by giving a 10% FIT bonus for solar products manufactured in Europe. Note Italy had given this FIT bonus a year ago, however that has not helped the European solar manufactures. Even the biggest solar panel producers like Solarworld are near bankruptcy, as high [...]
According to reports coming from Europe where the summit of major European leaders took place to resolve the growing debt crisis,a deal has been reached on Greek debt.The Euro 350 billion debt which dwarfs the size of the negatively growing Greek economy has been a major source of instability in the last 2 years.The private holders of the Greek government bonds have agreed to take a 50% writeoff on their holdings.This means that if they hold Euro 100 of bonds they have become Euro 50 now as the rest has been written off as bad debt.Not that it was not apparent as Greek CDS and Greek bonds were touching all times lows in the secondary market.In fact the only buyers of Greece bonds were the European Central Bank and the Greek banks.The capital markets had been going up in the last month in the hope of some sort of resolution.The deal does not look like a win win as there will be some big losers in this deal (though they were already losing for some time).Nicolas Sarkozy announced the deal which would be voluntary in nature so that the CDS would not be invoked.Here are the winners and losers from this deal
Ontario Canada has a comprehensive solar subsidy policy which mandate that a large percentage of solar components be manufactured in Ontario in order to receive the Feed in Tariffs.This has led to a mini manufacturing boom in the province with a number of companies like Conergy,MEMC,Enphase,Canadian Solar putting up factories to take advantage of the FIT.Japan which is also a large manufacturer of solar panels with major Japanese solar companies like Sharp,Kyocera has taken Canada to the WTO citing improper competitive practises.India which has one of the largest potential in solar energy installation too has promulgated a law that requires domestic content requirements.Solar Modules must be produced in India to gain FIT under the JNNSM.This law is expected to become stricter with solar cells also to be produced in the country in the future.This has drawn howls of protest from American officials who too tried domestic content in their subsidies under the Stimulus Act.
Terra Firma,the multi billion pound Private Equity firm has continued its Renewable Energy Asset Buying Spree spending a monstrous 641 millino Euros to buy Rete Rinnovabile a solar plant owner and operator in Italy.The acquired company is a susdiary of Italian market grid operator Terna and owns around 150 MW solar capacity in Italy which witnessed a massive solar boom in 2010.The acquisition values 1 MW at 4.5 Euros which would be considered not an expensive price given the large returns available for Italian solar power assets which gets a generous government mandated feed in tariff.The solar power plants are well located near distribution end points which is not a surprise since the company was a subsidiary of the grid power operator.
The Green Party in Germany has continued its massive upsurge in popularity in Germany winning a huge slice of votes in key German states which have gone to polls recently.Green Party in Germany which is founded on the principles of social justice, reliance on grassroots democracy nonviolence, and an emphasis on environmentalism has remained a fringe player.However the recent backlash against the nuclear power plant extension by Merkel,the planning on high speed rail in Stuttgart and the frustration with the foreign and Euro policies of the ruling CDU has led to huge gains.Note Green Parties are found in most European countries though they remain non-existent in major Anglo-Saxon countries.However the recent Japanese nuclear disaster may give a fresh impetus as global warming effects continue to increase and nuclear energy comes under attack.Mass protests against nuclear power continue to be held in different cities in Germany
Italian Electricity Regulator really shook the global solar market saying that approximately 6 GW of Solar Installations were done in the country in 2010 up almost 500% from 2010.While 2 GW were installed and connected in 2010,4 GW worth of application were submitted by 50,000 installations which were installed but not connected.This means that that Italy’s target of 8 GW in 2020 was almost fully met in 2010 itself.I had written that Italian Solar Feed in Tariff Subsidy Cuts for 2011 will fail to stop the Boom in Solar Demand and the 2020 target would be met much earlier.But 2010 was not in my wildest projection.The combination of high sunlight,high electricity rates,falling solar module prices and attractive feed in tariff by the government has made investing in solar in Italy a hugely profitable venture.So 6 GW is not totally impossible given the massive supply growth seen in solar panels.Every solar company in the world had been shipping to capacity making it a mystery as to what was the source of such demand.Italy might prove to be the answer.