Europe raises 2018 PV forecast after Asia tariff expiry; New England files storage market rules

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Europe raises 2018 PV installation forecast to 12.6 GW

Europe is forecast to add 12.6 GW of solar power capacity in 2018 (including Turkey), up 37% year-on-year as the expiry in September of import tariffs on Asian modules and cells boosts demand, industry group SolarPower Europe said in a statement October 31. In June, SolarPower Europe predicted a smaller increase of 34%.

"The European solar market is growing even more than anticipated in 2018, in part due to the expiry of the Minimum Import Price (MIP) and trade duties on modules and cells from Asia," SolarPower Europe said.

"Now that we have market prices for solar in Europe, we expect to see a further boost in demand that will help reinvigorate the European solar sector," Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe said.

"This will also help [European Union] manufacturers along the solar value chain through increased demand for their products," Schmela said.

            Europe solar installs 2017-2018

                              (Click image to enlarge)

Source: SolarPower Europe, October 2018.

Falling costs, looming European Union (EU) 2020 targets, competitive tenders, and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) will all boost solar power demand in the coming years, SolarPower Europe said in June.

Growth is expected to taper off post 2020 as EU countries will have 10 years to meet the next climate and energy targets.

"Moreover, there is only limited visibility on how the European clean energy legislation and national implementation for 2020-2030 will finally look like," the industry group said.

             Forecast European PV installations

                                  (Click image to enlarge)

Source: SolarPower Europe's Global Market Outlook 2018. (June 2018).

German government agrees to auction 4 GW of new solar

Germany's coalition government agreed last week to auction a further 4 GW of solar and 4 GW of onshore wind capacity in 2019-2021.

The new capacity will come a year later than originally planned, but the agreement unlocks recent political deadlock over the issue.

Some 1 GW of PV capacity will be auctioned in 2019, 1.4 GW in 2020, and 1.6 GW in 2021, in addition to the 2.8 GW per year plan for each of those years, according to reports.

"What we really need to see now is a firm commitment on the auction schedule up to 2030," wind industry group WindEurope said.

"[Germany's] coalition say they will deliver this at the end of 2019. This extra visibility is key to keep cost reductions going and to ensure we keep jobs in the European supply chain," it said.

New England markets file battery storage market tariffs

ISO New England and the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) have submitted new tariffs to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which will enable energy storage technologies to participate in the New England markets.

Under FERC Order 841, issued earlier this year, market operators must implement regulation that allows energy storage to participate in wholesale markets. FERC set a deadline for implementation of December 3.

Filed to the FERC October 10, the New England tariff revisions recognize the ability for battery storage plants to "transition continuously and rapidly between a charging state and a discharging state", allowing them to be dispatched in the real-time energy market and participate in the reserves and regulation markets.

Currently, 19 MW of battery capacity participates in the New England markets and there is around 800 MW of stand-alone energy storage capacity in the ISO New England interconnection queue.

All six New England states support energy storage, the market operators noted.

Solar plus storage deployment is spreading from the U.S. Southwest into eastern states as growing competition boosts efficiency gains in technology coupling, analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) told New Energy Update last month.

Following rapid drops in battery prices, developers predict lower balance of system costs and engineering improvements will create new opportunities for solar plus storage. Key applications include solar peak shifting and frequency response.

Solar plus storage projects are expected to replace a "significant portion” of U.S. coal fired capacity that is scheduled for retirement over the next decade, Hugh Bromley, lead analyst for North America solar and distributed generation at BNEF, said.

“This won’t be contained to the Southwest. This is spreading and will continue to spread,” he said.

The New England market operators plan to file remaining elements required for full compliance with Order 841 separately, ahead of the compliance deadline, they said.

New Energy Update