Is solar PV really the future?

20th May 2014

John Grimes, CEO, Australian Solar Council writes (20/5/14):

"Today I presented on the Australian market to a Global Leaders’ forum at China’s largest PV industry conference and exhibition (180,000 square meters of exhibition space) and tens of thousands of delegates… I wanted to share some dot points from the notes that I took today. ... Is solar PV really the future?  My notes follow:
"US PV Market

  • Employs 143,000 workers
  • Valued at $13.7bn in 2013 – up from $810m in 2006
  • Last quarter – 2.1GW installed
  • Cumulative PV installed to date 13GW
  • Residential, commercial and utility markets all up – residential moving fastest
  • Price declines driving growth
  • Outlook for 2014 – 6GW
  • 840MW of CSP projects to be commissioned this year

"Europe PV Market

  • 10GW installed in 2013
  • Around 10GW forecast per year over the next few years
  • As FiT’s are falling, new business models emerging
  • Germany had 75% of its power met by wind and solar last Saturday

"China PV Market

  • 12.4GW of PV was installed in 2013
  • Cumulative total PV installed to date is 19.4GW
  • In 2013 China became the largest PV market in world
  • In a global market of 40GW China accounted for 31% of total global PV installations
  • The global accumulated total of installed PV is 141GW, China accounted for 8.8% of installed PV for all time
  • China’s target for 2015 is a cumulative total of 35GW of installed PV – for 2020 it is for 100GW (cumulative)
  • China is on track to meet both

"The Chinese government is now studying a PV electricity roadmap that would see 2 senarios for 2050 (cumulative total):

  1. Base case – 1,000GW
  2. Proactive case – 2,000GW

"While these are ambitious targets, the Chinese government sees great economic, social, and environmental benefits in this strategy… Only a few short years ago Australia was hitting our numbers out of the park and our market was bigger than China’s…
"Australian PV Market

  • So mulling over the question tonight, I am still not sure. 
  • Maybe there is something to be said after all for the federal government putting all our chips, on black (coal)….
  • After all, why move while the rest of the world is doing nothing?"