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EnergyTrend: Solar Market Variables Result in Spot Market Uncertainty, High-Efficiency Products a New Trend at PV Expo Japan

published: 2012-02-29 18:40

EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, indicates, the buzz on the solar market this week was not just surrounding the German government’s slashing of solar subsidies and advancement of the policy cuts to March 9; PV Expo Japan began on February 29, and the spot market is in a wait-and-see state. Under Germany’s new policy, rooftop system subsidies will be cut by 20-30%, while ground-mounted systems below 10MW will see a 25% reduction; over 10MW will no longer receive support. Furthermore, beginning in May 2012 subsidies will be cut by €0.15/kWh monthly until January 1, 2013. Additionally, beginning on January 1, 2013, a partial subsidy policy will take effect, with systems under 10kW only receiving subsidies for 85% of produced electricity. Larger facilities will have a 90% cap.

PV Expo Japan Highlights High-Efficiency Products, Makers Anticipate July 2012 Orders from Japanese Market
The three-day long PV Expo Japan event has begun, marking the first international PV exhibit since Germany’s policy changes. Furthermore, beginning in July 2012 Japan will implement a large-scale ground-mounted system subsidy policy. Thus, global makers congregated at the expo are eagerly swapping opinions and seizing opportunities to penetrate the Japanese market. According to EnergyTrend’s onsite reports, high-efficiency products are the main attraction at this year’s PV Expo Japan. Taking into consideration Japan’s renewed growth momentum, high-efficiency product supply and demand will be an important indicator of the solar market in 2Q12.

The industry supply chain has also seen changes. According to EnergyTrend observation, Taiwanese groups previously rumored to be looking into investing in the solar industry have begun setting the stage, choosing sectors with related resources as their entry point. EnergyTrend believes this change is an indication that the PV industry is headed in a collective direction, utilizing group resources and power to integrate the industry chain both vertically and horizontally, thereby increasing profitability. As cost control is the current industry focus, the entrance of Taiwanese groups is expected to have a deep impact not only on both sides of the strait, but globally as well.

Weekly PV Spot Price Flat due to Market Uncertainty
As for this week’s spot prices, according to EnergyTrend research, due to contradicting news from the market, spot price is currently inconclusive. This week’s price quotes, from polysilicon to solar inverter price, stayed flat. If market sentiment turns pessimistic, a replay of 2011 may occur, with PV Expo Japan representing a turning point that initiates a new wave of price fluctuations. Thus, EnergyTrend believes manufacturers’ outlook on 2Q12 this Thursday and Friday will have a profound influence on the future spot price trend. EnergyTrend estimates, the top ten global PV markets in 2012 will be Germany, China, the U.S., Italy, Japan, India, France, Australia, Greece, and Canada. Several emerging regions will follow in their footsteps, and high-efficiency solar cells and modules are expected to become the future direction of the market.

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