Further cost reduction expected

5/15/19, 5:05 PM -

The photovoltaic industry has sunny prospects: the PV business climate index is at an all-time high, the market is growing at double-digit rates and costs are continuing to fall.

A expert delegation from the U.S. got to know improved energy storage solutions at The smarter  E Europe in Munich guided by pv Europe, here at the booth of Tesvolt.
A expert delegation from the U.S. got to know improved energy storage solutions at The smarter E Europe in Munich guided by pv Europe, here at the booth of Tesvolt.

With over 1,300 exhibitors from over 160 countries and over 50,000 expected trade visitors, The smarter E Europe started today in Munich with its four trade fairs Intersolar, Power2Drive, ees and E+M Power. And the mood and prospects in the industry are excellent: The PV business climate index, which the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) has been publishing for several years, is at an all-time high of 141.7.  Five years ago it had slipped to 35.5.

Carsten Körnig, CEO of BSW-Solar, expects double-digit market growth this year, with an increase of 3.5 to 4 gigawatts (GW) of new PV systems in all market segments this year. Investments in new PV systems in Germany are expected to amount to three billion euros. Körnig assumes that solar power will contribute around 10 percent to Germany's net electricity consumption by 2020.

Economies of scale continue to lower costs

Körnig also expects PV costs to fall further in the coming years, mainly due to economies of scale, the so-called learning curve, and prices to halve if production doubles.  At around 5 cents, solar power from free-field plants is already cheaper than electricity from new gas, coal or wind power plants. In the case of storage systems, costs have fallen by an average of 18 percent in recent years, and here too BSW Solar expects costs to fall further.

According to a recent survey by the association, one in two homeowners also wants solar power from their own roof, and one in four wants their own electric filling station. The association expects the boom in electromobility to lead to further market shares for solar power systems.

80 percent of building space still unused for PV

Nevertheless, Körnig is still a militant in the direction of politics. Now the main thing must be to remove the expansion cover and increase the expansion paths for renewables and photovoltaics, for PV alone to 10 gigawatts annually. The backdrop for solar parks must also be expanded and bureaucratic obstacles to investment in commercial roof systems must be removed. After all, over 80 percent of the building area is currently still unused for PV, says Körnig. (HCN)

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