Monday, November 29, 1999

FACTBOX - Asia`s solar energy market potential

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Asia could account for a quarter of global solar capacity in five years, possibly overtaking the United States, if the region's policy makers continue to enact measures supporting solar use.In 2009, the region's biggest solar markets installed nearly 1,000 Megawatts (MW) of solar facilities, with Japan accounting for half that total, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).The EPIA expects that market to grow 9-fold to 7,500 MW by 2014. That is possible if Asian governments implement policies supporting solar use such as giving preferential rates for solar energy or offering cash subsidies to builders of huge ground-mounted solar facilities.Until recently, Japan and Australia were the only markets for solar energy in Asia, with solar cells and panels being manufactured Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan.The main drivers for the industry are commitments from around the region to slash emissions and a global push to boost renewable energy's share of total electricity production.China, India, Japan and South Korea are expected to account for over 90 percent of the Asian solar market by 2014.JAPAN:- was the world's third-largest market for solar energy, helped by subsidies to households installing photovoltaic (PV) systems.- EPIA expects Japan to become a 1,000 MW market this year.- has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in 2020 and is expanding the use of solar and other renewable energy sources to achieve this target.- PV technology is well established and widely used in buildings and some residential areas, and would complement plans to establish future large solar projects.- plans to install 28 Gigawatt (GW) of solar energy by 2020, rising to 53 GW by 2030.CHINA:- is among the world's largest suppliers of solar panels, but uses little of what it produces domestically. With more than 12 GW of large projects in the pipeline, China could rapidly become a major market, according to EPIA.- the government announced a solar program in March 2009 followed by a second, larger program in July for ground-mounted PV systems.- installed 160 MW of solar capacity last year.- unofficial solar target is 20 GW by 2020, and industry experts believe it could top targets if it implements a feed-in tariff or sets a preferential rate per kilowatt-hour of solar energy. Timing on this is unclear.INDIA:- has followed China and set an ambitious target of 20 GW of installed capacity by 2022, though it does not have same manufacturing capability. Chinese solar firms are expected to be the main beneficiaries of increased solar demand in India.- last year set a goal for slowing emissions growth, saying it will rein in its carbon intensity -- the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output -- by 20-25 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels.- plans to achieve this by developing solar and other sources of renewable energy. Rising electricity demand and high solar irradiation levels suggest a potentially huge market for solar equipment.SOUTH KOREA:- as with Japan, South Korea is leveraging its expertise in electronics and high-end manufacturing to enter the solar market, but it is a relative latecomer and will need to differentiate itself from Japanese and Chinese competitors.- solar installation dropped to 168 MW in 2009 as a surprise surge in 2008 prompted an easing of subsidies in the sector.- still keen, however, to develop its solar market and requires power utilities to generate at least 2 percent of their total capacity from renewable energy sources.OTHERS:- Australia installed 66 MW of solar capacity in 2009, bringing it closer to its target of generating a fifth of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.- a government grant scheme has been the main driver behind off-grid solar PV systems. It also implements a feed-in tariff at the state level to promote solar installation.- Taiwan has a growing manufacturing base for solar cells, while its installed solar capacity remains small. It has leveraged its capability in electronic chip aking to become a leading Asian supplier of solar cells.Sources: Reuters Asia Clean Tech Handbook, EPIA(Compiled by Leonora Walet, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)(For more business news on Reuters India click

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