Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Possible Solar Bubble in Italy?

The world's photovoltaic industry is heading for a shake-out with big Chinese and US manufacturers of solar modules competing for dominance in Europe as smaller companies suffer from a collapse of prices and lower subsidies.

Executives speaking at the Italian PV Summit and trade fair in Verona last week were heartened by higher forecasts of demand for solar power made by the Paris-based International Energy Agency but they also warned of the dangers of a bubble forming in fast-growing Italy following the bursting of the Spanish market last year.

Ingmar Wilhelm, vice-president of Enel's renewables division, said the Italian utility did not intend to take part in the expected consolidation process. Enel is investing with Sharp of Japan and STMicroelectronics, a joint Italian-French company, in a plant in Sicily to produce modules using the latest triple-junction thin-film technology.

Executives spoke of the "pain" and "turbulence" in the solar modules market last year and stressed the importance of governments, particularly Italy, making sustainable, long-term decisions on feed-in tariffs - the subsidies paid for the electricity produced as the industry moves towards "grid parity" where its prices are competitive with other sources.

Source Financial times.   Read the full article here.

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