Dear Readers, While the collapse in demand for photovoltaics has now left deep scars both in Germany and the rest of Europe, even among component manufacturers, the picture in other continents is far rosier: To cite but two examples, one Chinese manufacturer is planning to build a thin-film module factory in Ivory Coast at a cost of 500 million US dollars, and another is constructing a 150 megawatt production facility in South Africa. Latin America is a further hot spot where analysts are predicting the expansion rate will top 35 percent.
It now seems to have dawned on other continents that solar power is cheap and photovoltaics can be employed almost anywhere in the world. Experts are forecasting that a new investment cycle will get underway in 2014, and several photovoltaics manufacturers have already announced plans to expand their capacity.
Despite the major, politically-driven setbacks, this news reinforces my firm belief that we will achieve an annual market volume of 300 gigawatts by 2025 – in other words ten-fold the current capacity. Of course, this is a goal that can only be attained by implementing a fair political framework, for which we will continue to lobby, and by squeezing costs through increases in efficiency.
Just how far efficiency has advanced is demonstrated by a project in Texas that, in future, may perhaps be seen as a milestone in the global energy transition, particularly since it managed to come out on top when pitted directly against conventional power plants: The operator of this 150 megawatts plant wants to supply one kilowatt hour of electricity at a price equivalent to 3.2 – 3.9 euro cents. Even if this extremely low price can, in part, be attributed to tax relief, without government support the price would still be an incredible 5.9 euro cents.
According to market analyst IHS, we are already seeing strong indications that a new investment cycle is set to start in 2014. The key factors pointing to this are bullish market sentiment and optimism about demand for photovoltaics, as well as an influx of orders to equipment suppliers.
Such optimism stands in stark contrast to the post-EEG blues, which has been darkening the mood in Germany and many other European countries. It seems that rays of hope are primarily glimmering beyond the shores of our continent. It is therefore more important than ever for suppliers to offer their products and services to the global market. Countless companies in other industries have shown how medium-sized companies can become world market leaders in niche areas.
With our internationally distributed industry reports, we want to provide companies in the solar industry with an aid that will assist them to compete at global level. As the publisher of this industry guide, we understand the difficulties that most of you are experiencing. I therefore wish to express all the more gratitude to those who have presented their products and services in this publication!
I hope it makes exciting reading, and instills you with optimism!
Yours, Karl-Heinz Remmers