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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Feb 21, 2013 2:12 PM Flag

    Global solar farm capacity doubles inside 12 months

    Global solar farm capacity doubles inside 12 months

    Report concludes that global installed capacity for utility-scale solar farms will top 12GW by the end of the month

    By BusinessGreen staff
    21 Feb 2013
    More from this author
    Comments: 1

    The market for giant solar farms is going from strength to strength, according to new figures that suggest global installed capacity has almost doubled over the past 12 months.

    The update from analyst firm Wiki-Solar concludes that by the end of the month 12.2GW of capacity will be installed across 488 utility-scale solar farms, each of which boasts a minimum of 10MW of capacity. In contrast, just 6.5GW was installed this time last year at 282 sites globally.

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    The figures were released as US developer First Solar announced that it has this week connected the first 100MW of its 230MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch to the grid, and Wiki-Solar predicts strong growth will continue across the industry, with the Chinese and US markets in particular expanding rapidly.

    China has overtaken Germany as the world's largest utility-scale solar market after adding almost 2GW of new capacity in the past year, although Germany and the US both still added more than 1.1GW of capacity.

    "We expect the US to overtake Germany this year, too," said Wiki-Solar's Philip Wolfe. "It has an impressive pipeline of large projects under construction and should go to the top of the table, if these are delivered on time."

    The market has been largely driven by rapid reductions in the cost of solar PV technologies, which tend to deliver greater benefits to utility-scale projects than more costly distributed rooftop deployments.

    With costs also falling for solar thermal technologies, analysts are increasingly convinced that solar farms in hot countries will be able to generate power at a cost that is competitive with fossil fuels within the next five years.

    "The rate of growth is breathtaking," said Wolfe. "These figures get out of date before they are even published. In the last quarter alone, more than 70 utility-scale solar projects totalling 1.5GW were registered under the Clean Development Mechanism."

    In related news, Romania this week became the latest country to cut solar subsidies in response to the falling cost of solar panels, confirming that financial support for solar projects will be reduced by about 17 per cent from next year.

    The European Commission has warned that the country's support for renewable energy risked becoming over generous and energy regulator ANRE responded this week with confirmation that its "green certificates" subsidy scheme will cut the number of certificates issued to solar projects from six to five certificates per MWh of electricity.

    However, no changes will be made to the level of support available to wind farms, which has seen a boom in the country's nascent wind energy market with 1.6GW of capacity already installed.

    businessgreenDOTcom/bg/news/2249641/global-solar-farm-capacity-doubles-inside-12-months

 
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