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.
Switzerland is one of the richest,most developed countries in the world hosting one of the biggest financial centre in the world and home to two of the largest banks UBS and Credit Suisse.Switzerland has been long been regarded as a neutral safe haven for money with the its currency Swiss Franc thought to be a risk averse store of value.Switzerland is known for its excellent banks which provide a high quality of service and safety.But the less publicized fact is why this small mountainous country attracts trillions of dollars in wealth from around the world.Its because of its secrecy laws which don’t allow the name of the bank account holder to be revealed unless its proven that it is due to criminal misconduct.This Law has made Switzerland the safe haven for all kinds of criminal wealth including drugs,guns,prostitution,genocide etc.The recent spat between USA and Switzerland over the revealing of US tax evaders brought this anomaly into the open.Switzerland is the only large country to have such a law which promotes crime and tax evasion globally.
The US Solar Utility Market has been the preserve of the 2 largest US Solar Module Players Sunpower and First Solar.While other Solar Panel Makers have won small deals,these 2 companies have dominated the US Utility Market so far.Sunpower has been very successful in the commercial,municipal and utility segments winning a huge number of deals even as its residential dominance evaporated.The bigger Chinese solar producers like Trina,Yingli,Suntech had already taken over the residential market in California with their much cheaper prices.Now even the larger utility market is under threat from the low cost companies from Asia.Note upstream producers like LDK and GCL Poly are also targeting the system development market in US through acquisitions and alliances.The 250 MW Sempra Generation solar plant being built in Arizona will source Suntech modules and will be completed by 2013.This is a huge order win by Suntech which is the largest module producer in 2010 and could see other Chinese producers using this as a template to push out Sunpower and First Solar.
United Kingdom is one the worst countries in the world in terms of its commitment towards Global Warming.Like Canada and USA,UK has been a notable laggard in the Green Energy area.It has one of the smallest percentages of its Energy being derived from clean sources.The government has not changed its policies too much as well despite its “green posturing”.Solar FIT cuts which started in April 2010 were put under review by the authorities in as little as 6 months .This was despite only 10 MW of solar installation a month compared to the 500 MW average for Germany.In offshore wind power,UK is regarded as the leader with the largest installed capacity.However the growth in even Wind Energy has been slow and halting.Also offshore wind power is not the most mature of green technologies out there,so don’t expect any miracles in Renewable Energy growth through this source.
The Spanish Government faces multiple lawsuits over its Royal Decrees which cut the Feed in Tariff for Solar PV Installations Retroactively.These laws were passed in Dec 2010 as part of the comprehensive review of the Renewable Energy Subsidies by the government.While Wind Energy and Solar Thermal Subsidies were changed earlier,the controversy over the Solar PV subsidies had forced the government to delay the change to the last minute.These changes were strongly opposed by the Solar PV Industry Association ASIF which has earlier called the measure as “industry killing”.These cuts over the next 3 years would be done through a “backdoor approach” in which the subsidies would be restricted for a only a few hours for the Solar PV plants.
USA recently signed a Military Law which obliges the US Defense Forces to buy Solar Panels which are made in the USA.This “Buy American” proposal directly contradicts US actions and policy which advocates free trade in Green Energy.The US Steelworkers Trade Union recently filed a petition with the US Administration against subsidies being given to the Green Industry by China.US government officials also spoke against the “domestic content” requirements of the Indian Solar Subsidy Policy JNNSM.However when it comes to their own solar panel procurement,the US government has foolishly forced its military forces to buy USA made panels.Not that this will help in boosting the US industry too much,as a number of foreign solar panel producers like Solarworld,Suntech already have module making factories in the United States.Also it remains doubtful about how many solar panels the US Military will buy in the coming years.It will remain a fraction of the global solar demand.Instead of supporting US Solar companies like Evergreen Solar,Energy Conversion Devices which are fighting to survive,the administration has given billion dollar loans to a Spanish Solar Thermal Producer.