Mixed Greens: Australia named one of 5 Asian solar tigers

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Asia-Pacific will dominate solar PV deployment in 2014; Tonga switches on to solar and storage; Silex names new solar chief.

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A new forecast for solar PV deployment, suggests the Asia-Pacific region will dominate demand in 2014, installing a record 23GW in the calendar year – about half of the expected global demand of 46GW and more than was installed in Europe at the height of the boom there in 2011. NPD Solarbuzz said five countries will account for 95 per cent of this demand –  China, Japan, India, Australia, and Thailand.

“APAC will dominate both manufacturing supply and end-market demand in 2014, with more than 80 percent of module production also coming from the region,” according to Steven Han, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “This milestone marks the final chapter in the transition from historic European domination to a new PV industry, where supply and demand from APAC will determine the basis of the 50 gigawatt global PV industry going into 2015.”

solarbuzz forecastsAs this graph shows, demand from the APAC region is dominated by China, which has announced an aggressive target of 12 GW for 2014, with 8 GW to be installed on rooftops, and the remaining 4 GW located on the ground, and Japan, which has a pipeline of more than 20GW. Thailand is set to become the next major solar-PV country in the APAC region in 2014, having increased its target for renewable energy contributions to 25 per cent by 2021.

Australia, after tipping 1GW in 2012, is expected to record installations of around 700MW in 2013 and could stay at a similar level in 2014. NPD SolarBuzz analyst Finlay Colville says this is due to uncertainty arising mainly from the policy changes within the changing political climate. “However, upside and a rebound in growth in 2014 cannot be discounted at this time,” he said in an emailed statement.

Tonga switched on to solar and storage

A 500kW solar PV system with battery storage has been completed on the Tongan island of Vava’u. The system, which combines with a diesel genset, will offset up to 70 per cent of the island day-time electricity demand and 13 per cent of its annual demand. It will reduce diesel consumption by an average of 225,000 litres a year.

SMA, which installed its Fuel Save Controller technology in the project, which enables the integration of photovoltaics while leaving the diesel gensets unaffected, said the system would help the Tongan government offset its fossil fuel dependency. Tonga aims to source 50 per cent of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020. The project was developed by Abu Dhabi based renewable energy company Masdar and is financed through a grant provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

Silex appoints new head of solar division

Silex Systems said it has appointed Christopher Murray to the position of CEO of its Solar Systems subsidiary, which is developing the unique “dense array” dish concentrating solar PV technology. Murray is a former executive with Energy Developments and Silex said he had a track record in the development of new business. Silex is currently building a CPV demonstration plant in Mildura, ahead of a potential 100MW plant and it is pursuing similar projects in key global markets, including Saudi Arabia and the US.

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