Category CLEAN ELECTRICITY FROM PHOTOVOLTAICS

Barriers to the introduction of PV

Major barriers to the widespread introduction of PV vary from country to country, but usually include the difficulties of providing acceptable financing, organising installation and after-sales service, assuring technical quality through national standards, and providing and distributing appropriate information.

Actions to avoid these barriers include

• Entering other markets than the classical niche ones, and looking for new partners.

• Transfer of technology, using demonstration projects, combining innovation with social impact.

• The harmonisation of electrical tariff systems and the formulation of official targets for renewables.

• The fostering of a stable political climate.

PV is practically the only renewable energy source that can produce electricity in cities...

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Developing countries

Conventional rural electrification is usually of little interest for power utilities in developing countries because of the high cost of power lines and the comparatively small sales of electricity. This is why PV Solar Home Systems powering high- efficiency lamps and radio/TV sets provide an increasingly important electrification alternative for rural households, even at present cost levels. This is because (a) the alternatives, kerosene lights or batteries, are of comparable cost or more expensive than PV, at US$ 6-12 per month, and (b) the PV system provides a better quality (electric) light and safer supply. As we noted in Section 18.3, the monthly cost for the service of having electricity is the relevant parameter, and not the cost per kWh.

Major barriers to the widespread introducti...

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Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (USA)

Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (www. hscpoly. com) is based in Hemlock, Michigan. The company is a joint venture of Dow Corning Corporation (63.25%) and two Japanese firms, Shin-Etsu Handotai Co. Ltd. (24.5%) and Mitsubishi Mate­rials Corporation (12.25%). The company is the leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the semiconductor and solar indus­try. In 2007, the company had an annual production capacity of 10000 tons of polycrystalline silicon and production at the expanded Hemlock site (19000 tons) started in June 2008. A further expansion at the Hemlock site, as well as a new factory in Clarksville, Tennessee, was started in 2009...

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Market development

18.5.1 OECD countries

A few years ago, it was believed that the most promising application for PV in OECD countries would be large, megawatt-sized grid-feeding plants installed by electricity companies in countries with good solar regimes. However, rapid developments in the area of PV building integration in countries at higher latitudes, such as Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands, and the growing interest in PV of architects, project developers, governments, utilities and environmental groups in these countries, have brought about a marked change: Building-integrated PV (BIPV) systems now represent the fastest growing application of PV in OECD countries.

It is becoming clear that PV systems have much added value, beyond the electricity they supply...

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OCI Company (South Korea)

OCI Company Ltd. (www. oci. co. kr) (formerly DC Chemical) is a global chemical company with a product portfolio spanning the fields of inorganic chemicals, petro and coal chemicals, fine chemicals, and renewable energy materials. In 2006, the company started its polysilicon business and completed its 6500 metric ton P1 plant in December 2007. The 10500 metric ton P2 expansion was completed in July 2009, and P3 with another 10000 metric tons brought the total capacity to 27000 metric tons at the end of 2010. The debottlenecking of P3 in 2011 increased the capacity to 42000 tons at the end of the year. Further capacity expansions, P4 (20000 tons) and P5 (24000 tons), were put on hold due to the rapid price decline of polysilicon...

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The balance of system (BOS)

Apart from the solar modules, a PV system usually consists of a frame, an inverter (if grid-coupled, otherwise a battery and controller) and wiring. In cost terms, the installation is also part of the BOS costs. When talking about the cost reduction of PV energy, one normally describes the perspectives, scenarios and challenges for the PV module. This is certainly a myopic point of view: the BOS cost is responsible for close to 50% of the cost of the system, and 80% of system failures arise in BOS components rather than in the PV modules themselves.

PV modules produce direct current (DC) and are usually connected to central inverters, which produce alternating current (AC) and are connected to the grid...

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GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. (China)

GCL-Poly (gcl-poly. com. hk) was founded in March 2006 and construction of their Xuzhou polysilicon plant (Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon Technology Develop­ment) began in July 2006. Phase I has a designated annual production capacity of 1500 tons and the first shipments were made in October 2007. Full capacity was reached in March 2008. At the end of 2011, polysilicon production capac­ity had reached 65000 metric tons and 8 GW of wafers. For 2012, the company reported production of 37055 metric tons of polysilicon and 5.6 GW wafers. It has invested in the downstream business of solar: GCL Solar System Ltd. (SSL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd...

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Wacker Polysilicon (Germany)

Wacker Polysilicon AG (www. wacker. com) is one of the world’s leading manufac­turers of hyper-pure polysilicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industry, chlorosilanes and fumed silica. In 2011, Wacker increased its capacity to over 40000 metric tons and reported sales of 32000 metric tons. Their 15000 metric ton factory in Nunchritz Saxony, started production in 2011. In 2010, the company decided to build a polysilicon plant in Tennessee with 15000 ton capacity. The groundbreaking of this new 18000 metric ton factory took place in April 2011, and construction should be finished by the end of 2013...

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