The US reinforces its hold on top of the solar index, increasing a further two points as several new installations were developed in the quarter, including a US$1b (€0.8b) 300MW solar plant in Boulder City, Nevada.
Korea Midland Power Co. and Posco Engineering Co. won the auction for the project and will be responsible for the construction and operations, with the plant set to start generation in December 2014.
The US is expected to remain one of the world’s largest solar markets through to 2013, as cheap solar panels coupled with strong Government quotas for use of the renewable energy source encourage market growth. A second utility-scale plant of 300MW to be built on public land in Arizona also received approval from the US Department of Interior.
India remains in second position, achieving a one point increase due to the Indian giant Moser Baer announcing US$1b (€0.8b) of expansion plans in its solar subsidiary over the next nine months to set up a 300MW plant. In Rajasthan state, India’s largest by area, the local Government agency opened up bids for 200MW of capacity split equally between solar PV and solar CSP as it aims for 550MW of grid-connected solar by 2013. Cheap solar appears to be the expectation for the future, with prices likely to fall 40% to around INR7 (€0.1) per kWh by around 2015, down from INR12 (€0.2) at present.
China remains in third place in the table as oversupply in the international solar export market has driven down the value of its previously high-growth industry. However, several large-scale plants have been commissioned, including the 200MW Geermu project, and a 50MW plant in central Ningxia, bringing the relatively small province's total solar capacity to 103MW.
Italy moves up to fourth place despite a drop in its sovereign credit rating to BBB+, while Spain fell three points in the solar index as the Government announced a temporary cessation in renewable electricity premiums paid on any new-build plant.
Morocco retains ninth place, increasing two points in its solar CSP score as the World Bank approved US$297m (€229m) of financing for a 500MW solar CSP plant to be constructed South East of Marrakesh, as the North African nation strives for 2GW of installed solar by 2020.
France moves to joint ninth place as Solairedirect SA, a South African subsidiary of the largest power distributor in France Solairedirect, agreed its first PPA with Soregies, a local French utility, to provide an offtake contract for 60MW of solar parks over 30 years.
Portugal moves down to 13th as cuts in FITs are accelerated from the planned €20/MWh to a tariff rate reduction rate of €54/MWh.
South Korea and South Africa
Both South Korea and South Africa’s continued renewable energy ambitions sees them placed 13th and 16th respectively, as the latter plans around 1.9GW of solar parks to 2016 through its independent power producer program.
Argentina has risen two places in the index to 27th, as Shanghai-based Sky Solar Holdings set aside US$70m (€54m) to build a solar project in the western province of San Juan, which is actively looking to attract inward investments in solar.