India has remained neutral in the index. PV tariffs were cut in January, but this was balanced by an announcement that import duties on CSP equipment will be scrapped. It is likely India’s solar market will be an attractive alternative for investors shifting focus from Europe’s flailing sector.
China has dropped an index point amid concerns that an anticipated boost in domestic installations will not generate much by way of new dollar investment. The sector is likely to use excess solar panels for this installation growth, creating few new investment opportunities.
To control growth and reduce its subsidy budget, Germany is trying to implement more regular solar PV tariff cuts. These are to be implemented in April, four months earlier than planned, and critics say this is premature.
Italy falls an index point following the release of a draft bill calling for a 35% cut in solar energy project subsidies. The bill also reduces the annual spending limit on solar subsidies and prioritizes small installations over large-scale projects.
Japan increases a point following government recommendations on solar FITs applicable from July 2012. Solar power providers could earn JPY42 (€0.38)/kWh, around three times the amount charged to industrial and commercial users.
Spain has dropped a point following a proposal to reduce incentive rates by up to 75% through to 2017 in exchange for equivalent higher tariffs thereafter. However, the PV index has stayed stable, with anxiety following the suspension of the PV tariff earlier in the year offset by news that two German developers are planning giant PV plants (278MW and 250MW) in Spain. These are expected to earn a return without subsidies, opening the way for subsidy-free solar in Spain, and boosting market confidence.
Greece cut solar subsidies in February because of budgetary constraints and because it has already met its 2014 target of 1.5GW. Projects generating more than 100kW will see subsidies cut by 12.5% to €0.292/kWh. The rate will then drop every six months to €0.203/kWh by August 2014.
Brazil’s solar sector received a boost in Q1, improving its index position. Under new regulations due later this year, utilities will be eligible for an 80% discount on taxes paid for distributing solar-generated electricity, and a net-metering regulation will allow homeowners and businesses to feed rooftop solar-generated electricity into the grid. It was also announced that solar projects will be offered loans c.5% lower than standard rates.
Israel climbs an index point following strong market activity. Several PV plants totaling 30MW-40MW received conditional licenses, dwarfing its current largest PV plant at just 5MW. Two plants with combined capacity of 180MW were also awarded licenses in Q1.
The UK, like Germany and Italy, is trying to stabilize subsidy spending. A consultation launched in Q1 outlined government plans to cut subsidies in March, July and October, and schedule bi-annual cuts thereafter. The cuts have undermined confidence in the Government’s incentive schemes and weakened attractiveness of the UK’s solar projects.
Canada dropped an index point after the Ontario Government announced it will reduce premium rates for solar power by 20%.
Chile jumps up in the index following several announcements of large-scale projects in both the PV and CSP sectors.