Freitag, 13. März 2009

Solar Cells

Der Spiegel reports that prices for standard solar cells have fallen by 35 % over the last 6 months. It will be interesting to see what this means for installation volumes. And what it means for the various producers. Apparently, part of the reason for the price drop is sharply increasing competition due to massive oversupply coming in from China. Industry shake-out getting closer?

(I would be interested to see the export earnings of the Chinese solar energy industry. Wonder if solar cells make up a noticeable proportion of Germany's China imports by now...? Edit: Apparently neither tiny, nor terribly huge: According to the Bundesverband Solar, Germany's solar cell producers had revenues of 7 bn € in 2008. They claim that half the production is exported, and a similar amount imported. That would mean solar cells worth 3.5 bn € were imported. Plus components of locally produced cells. So the total "import bill" should be in the 4-5 bn € ballpark, with - so far - less than half of it coming from China)

The not-so-great bit is that German electricity users have to pay dearly for high installation volumes: As a fixed price far in excess of market price is paid to all producers of solar energy (and guaranteed for 20 years!), end-user electricity tariffs are bound to rise as the share of solar energy goes up faster than expected.

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