Solar PV: a reliable, unlimited and sustainable source of energy
Human well-being and global warming, both are closely linked with energy. Energy is needed for power generation, to fulfill basic living standards, for transportation and of course for economical development. Since a few years the focus of many of the governments in the region is on [introduction of] renewable energy, such as wind [most often combined with generators] and solar [PV].
Summary of Characterics
Global Solar Investments is active on almost every continent and in a large variety of regions. The main characteristics of the regions we work in are:
- Small[er] scale economies and thus emerging and relatively small energy markets.
- Relatively high GDPs
- Strong ore even extremely dependent on oil and or gas import
- Longstanding private electrical utility monopolies or lack of competition
- Extensive electric power coverage
- Sometimes some of the highest electricity tariffs on the globe
- Readily available, but mainly untapped renewable energy potential.
The regions we work in are:
- The Caribbean and South America
- Middle East [and North Africa]
The Caribbean Region and South America
Whereas prices for Electricity are high and possibilities for renewable energy are also high, but more or less limited to wind and solar, the climate circumstances for the implementation of solar are very positive.The average solar insolation in Caribbean region and South America is approximately 2.000 kWh/m2/year, which is very favorable for solar energy applications.
High Solar Potential versus Low Implementation As mentioned before, Caribbean and South American countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. As a result, the Caribbean and South American energy sector is facing main challenges: energy security, economic growth and sustainable development. On the other hand, solar radiation in this region is high, which is very favorable for various kinds of solar energy implementations. PV technology was primarily used for security lightning and stand-alone systems in areas far from the grid, for example to pump water for irrigation. However, nowadays with grid coverage of almost 100% in all islands, improved technology and decreasing costs, PV systems are getting more and more interesting for reducing electricity also in urban areas. Some countries like Barbados and Grenada already successfully integrated renewable energies in their energy mix and started solar thermal and PV implementations. Nevertheless, this is a very small share compared to the huge, still untapped potential waiting to be discovered.
Solar Insolation in Europe
Prices of electricity in Europe remain high and dependency on fossils is still high. Although the goal is set at 20% renewable energy in 2020, many countries will face a harsh task to meet this.
Due to the relatively low solar irradiation in most European countries, many projects are dependent of governmental subsidies and tax incentives.
Solar Potential in Europe
Current developments in Europe underline both the strength and growth potential of PV solar energy. The European Union (EU) has already set a goal of meeting 20 percent of energy demand through the use of renewable sources by 2020. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA has conducted a study, “SET for 2020”), which shows that assuming basic improvements to regulatory conditions, PV solar power could satisfy as much as 12 percent of EU electricity demand by 2020. To put this in perspective, although solar energy makes up just 1 percent of total installed electricity generation capacity in the EU, it accounted for 10 percent of the newly installed capacity for 2008. At such growth rates, which are lower than the astronomic growth that the industry experienced over the past decade, the 12 percent goal is a realistic one.? The fact that PV solar energy can be generated virtually anywhere, even right in the heart of densely populated urban centers, can help reduce the load on long-distance electricity transmission networks. Here PV solar is a significant improvement from both carbon and hydro power generation sources, which are often located far from where they are consumed. Furthermore, PV solar produces electricity at the same time as peak energy demand occurs in most markets: during the daytime. This makes it well suited to replace carbon-based sources of peak energy demand, such as gas-fired turbines, which have a larger impact on emissions.?
Middle East and North Africa [MENA]
A number of countries in the Middle East – North African [MENA] Region are pushing strongly towards a fast implementation of Solar [policies] in order to adjust to their declining oil reserves.
Last year, Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates opened the world’s largest single concentrating solar power plant [sofar], Shams 1, which costs $600 million to build and boasts 100MW of solar generating capacity. Abu Dhabi [as an example] is aiming for 7 percent renewable energy by 2020, whereas [for example] Algeria has set an ambitious goal to reach 22GW of installed renewable capacity by 2030, producing 30-40 percent of its total electricity from solar. Jordan is another promising country since government, politics and society strongly aim for rapid implementation and development of renewable energy, which is also a fact for countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Qatar.
Solar Potential in the MENA region
Growth in the solar industry over the next decade won’t be driven by subsidies or ‘only’ government backing, but rather locations where the energy source is cheaper than alternatives. In the case of the MENA region, solar is not only economically viable, it’s a necessity because its most valuable commodity – oil – is more valuable as an export that it is being burned in power plants. The MENA region is blessed with a quantity of annual sunlight which until recently has been more of a liability than an asset, as large areas of the region’s land is too dry for agriculture. However, all that is changing. Direct radiation exceeding 6 kWh/m2 per day in many regions makes for awesome potential. Recent decreases in the price of solar technologies coupled with rising electricity demand in these growing nations, if coupled with the right policies, could make the region a splendid hub for solar expansion.
Solar Insolation in Asia
In Asia our first focus is – with our Consortium partners of Jiangxi Risun Solar, HT-SAAE and SSE – in China and in Indonesia in a joint venture with Indonesia based PT Grina Nirmaca. Solar Insolation is relatively moderate, but due to high potential and governmental stimulation and focus on “a green future” very interesting for Global Solar Investments. At our partners websites you will find may projects already designed and build. Jiangxi Risun Solar, with an annual capacity of 700MW and HT Solar en SSE together have done in 2013 only 650MW of EPC installed. Meaning we are part of one of the larger and leading solar consortia in the world.
Room to grow
Equally important is the solar industry’s capacity to deliver enough PV solar products to make a difference in the energy mix in the short to medium term. To put this in perspective, last year the global PV solar energy industry made enough solar modules to satisfy the entire electricity demand of California, which is one of the world’s largest energy markets.
Network We have longstanding relationships with multiple banks, both in the regions as abroad. Our banking relations are with both commercial and investment banks, under which FMO Bank, Worldbank, Triodos Bank and the European Development Bank. And of course; we have our own funds.
Suppliers Main suppliers of our PV Panels are Jiangxi Risun Solar [China], Axitec [Germany], and CentroSolar [Germany]. Inverters are supplied by Mastervolt, a Dutch-Belgian based company, or SMA, an American world-wide seller of invertors or SSE: a first class inverter form China and Australia.