US PV Market Has Incredible Upside To Growth Potential
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Nov 17, 2010
Over the next couple years the growth rate of the US PV market will undoubtedly outgrow that of more established markets such as Italy, Germany and Spain, therein making it among the leading PV markets in the world.
Going forth, the US can learn a lot from the experience of other markets and make sure to set a framework that ensures the return of investment and the sustainable growth of the PV market. In this case, Spain as of September 2008 is a prime example, as it proves that direct incentive programs can be so effective that they quickly backfire with severe consequences.
The US PV market, primarily based on tax credits, RPS solar carve-outs and RECs (SRECs) instead of direct subsidies, is already avoiding some of the mistakes made elsewhere and is providing a stable and supportive regulatory framework for the long-term. The Obama administration has also sought to facilitate access to debt financing by providing extensive guarantees.
Four basic themes that will play a big role determining the continuous growth of the US PV market going forward include: stability in the market framework, accessibility to financing, improvements in PV's technological competitiveness and developments in smart grid technology.
These themes will be crucial in pushing the market forward towards the tipping point: grid parity. These topics will all be discussed in detail in the four round tables that Eclareon will moderate at during the PV Power Plants 2010 Conference organized by Solarpraxis in Las Vegas on December 1st and 2nd.
Given the experience and know-how gained by European PV companies in their domestic markets, particularly Spain and Germany, it is not surprising to witness a significant rush to participate in the growth of the US market.
The rush by Spanish firms has been particularly pronounced due to the state of paralysis of the Spanish market since September 2008. Indeed, almost half the federal aids granted in 2009 (1.5 billion USD) were delivered to Spanish companies.
Examples of Spanish PV firms making firm bets on the US market include Siliken SA, which opened a solar module manufacturing plant in California in 2008 (Siliken California Corp), or Iberdrola Renovables, which has recently announced the construction of two large solar PV projects of 50 MW in Colorado and Arizona.
Entering the US market, however, is not easy and there are significant risks. Companies planning to enter this market must first understand all aspects of the market: regulatory, economic, technological and operational.
A further layer of complexity is added by the nature of the US federal system, which effectively fragments the US market into 50 individual markets, each with their own incentive and legal structure.
Consequently, despite the attractive prospects offered by the US PV market, any company looking to enter this market is advised to measure its steps ahead, be well-informed and advised prior to embarking on this adventure: the conquistadors who chased El Dorado are not to be emulated.
For more information regarding the Eclareon workshop and Solarpraxis Conference, please visit: PV Power Plants 2010 - USA
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Woodland Hills CA (SPX) Nov 17, 2010
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