Of course, check out our own solar power stories for the biggest solar news of the past week (if you haven’t read them all already).
But if you’re a super solar lover, for a bit more news, here are some top solar power stories from around the interwebs from the past week or so:
Misreporting of Energiewende: “Over the past few weeks, a number of reports in the international press reveal a lack of familiarity with the situation in Germany. In particular, reports of a sudden collapse of the German PV market continue – despite all facts to the contrary.”
Germany to Provide Solar Power Storage Incentives: Last week, “the German government announced a new market incentive program as proposed last year by the German Parliament. The incentives will, however, only be provided if the storage systems go beyond mere batteries and include energy management tailored to what the grid needs.”
Speculation on Solar Outside the Feed-in Tariff System in Germany: “Bloomberg just published an article about prices for electricity future contracts going down in Germany, which is a continuing trend. Rising shares of solar and wind (which have no fuel cost) of course bring wholesale prices down.
“And that article contained this remarkable paragraph:
‘As much as 18 percent of electricity demand may be replaced by solar panels not connected to Germany’s grid, reducing demand for other sources by 6 to 10 percent by 2020, Per Lekander, a Paris-based analyst at UBS AG (UBSN), said in a research note.’”
Ulrich Kelber Interview: “Ulrich Kelber is a leading SPD politician and responsible for energy policy. He makes a couple of interesting points.
“For one, while it costs some money to develop solar and other renewable capacity in Germany, many of the existing fossil fuel power plants would have needed to be replaced anyway. The alternative to paying for sun and wind is not paying nothing, but paying for dirty energy, with rising fuel costs.
“And energy efficiency policy is not successful in Germany, in Kelber’s opinion. The law on priority for renewable energy works nicely, but Germany needs to do much more for saving energy.”
Austria Installs 230MWp in 2012: “The budget for solar PV in Austria has been increased from €2.1 million to €8 million through the Green Electricity Act 2012.
“The Austrian PV Association states that 230MWp was installed last year, which is double the installed capacity compared to 2011. The cumulative installed capacity in Austria at the end of 2012 was 420MWp.”
“We No Longer Need Feed-in Tariffs:” Michael Harre, vice president and head of LG Electronics’ solar division: ”The photovoltaic sector is currently undergoing a very difficult time economically. Whoever makes it faces a great future. Solar cells and panels are becoming everyday products, including in combination with batteries. This will soon be taken for granted in a lot of industries and areas of life. Margins and profits will shrink, but greater revenue will make the necessary investments pay for themselves.”
Joachim Simonis, Managing Director at Talesun: “If we take account of all of the costs, Europe has reached grid parity with nuclear and coal power – or is about to. We therefore no longer need feed-in tariffs. But we do need the priority grid access ensured by the Renewable Energy Act. The market will take care of everything else on its own. The further growth of photovoltaics largely depends upon power prices. Conventional power is becoming more expensive in Germany and Italy, as is coal power in Greece, where an old law stipulated that Greek power plants could receive coal for free. This law expires in 2013. In a year and a half, we will be talking about completely different solar markets. The focus will then mainly be on direct consumption and power trading.”
More quotes via the link above.
Solar Cells Hellas Group Hits 20 MW of Installed Solar: “Solar Cells Hellas Group, the biggest PV producer in Greece, connected to the grid in January three new photovoltaic parks of a 3.19 MW total installed capacity.
“The parks have an installed capacity of 1.53 MW, 0.8 MW and 0.86 ΜW each, and are all located in the municipality of Viotia, Greece. They will be generating at least 4.944.500 kWh of energy per year saving the atmosphere over 4.625.500Kg of CO2.”
Trina Solar Supplies 61 MW of Solar Panels for Brandenburg Project: Trina Solar “has supplied PV modules totaling 61MW for the Green Tower project in the German federal state of Brandenburg. More than 252,000 multi-crystalline Trina Solar modules, each with an average output of more than 240Wp, have been installed on the former Preschen airfield in Jocksdorf, Brandenburg. Following a land conversion process, the compound was developed into a giant solar farm with rows of modules extending for more than a kilometre. The PV park that now covers the former military field has been fully commissioned and is considered to be one of the most efficient plants in the world. It provides clean solar power covering the annual energy needs of approximately 17,000 households.”
Andhra Pradesh Aims for 1 GW of Solar: “The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has invited applications from photovoltaic developers keen to enter the bidding process which it is hoped will see 1 GW of solar capacity installed.
“Applicants have until February 7 to apply to be part of the scheme, which will be the first to feature an online bidding process, according to consultants Bridge to India.”
Canadian Consortium Inks PPA for 50MW PV Plants in Ecuador: “A Canadian consortium composed of renewable energy developers Solexica Energy Corporation, JCM Capital and Radical Energy have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with electric utility firm Conelec for a 50MW PV plant in Ecuador.”
LA’s Feed-in Tariffs in Context: “Los Angeles adopted a relatively large feed-in tariff scheme this month that has drawn a lot of praise. Seen from Europe, the program certainly has an interesting design, but one wonders at a number of restrictions. Conflicting reports also show that Americans still don’t quite understand the concept. Local solar installers also have mixed feelings but remain hopeful.”
More Details on LA’s Feed-in Tariff: “The pricing for the program, which begins at $0.17/kWh and will drop by one cent per kWh each round, does not have an escalator attached to it. For each 20 MW increment, 4 MW will be reserved for smaller projects between 30 and 150kW. The total capacity of small projects can exceed this limit, but the total capacity of projects in the 151 kW-3 MW range cannot exceed 16 MW for each 20-MW round.
“If a round goes undersubscribed, the pricing will roll over but the capacity will not. For example, if contracts for only 8MW of the first 20 MW round are awarded at pricing of $0.17/kWh, the next round will still only award 20MW of contracts, but the first 12 MW will receive pricing of $0.17/kWh while the balance of the round will drop to $0.16/kWh. This policy is designed to prevent a spike in workload for the staff of the FIT program, avoiding delays and ensuring that the program can progress on schedule. If at the end of the program there is a significant amount of capacity left unsubscribed, it is possible that LADWP will consider releasing an additional program to fill it.
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.