Leaders of photovoltaics in 2009

Below, there are examples of several European countries, which in 2009 saw the largest increase in installed capacity of photovoltaic systems:

Italy is the third European country, after the Germany and Spain, who crossed the magical border of 1 GW of installed capacity. According to the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Italy connected to the network 574 MWp in 2009, which gave a total value of 1 0 19 MWp (not including the additional 13.4 MWp not included in the network). This is mainly due to the implemented program of incentives, in particular the introduction of feed-in-tariff. The Italian government encouraged by so far successes, is already presenting another incentive programs. The first outline of the new program provides for, inter alia, the differentiation of tariffs depending on the efficiency of the system and of its type. Furthermore, it gives a green light to lowering the price of photovoltaic modules, which can significantly reduce the cost of high-power plants. Additional incentives will be provided for PV investment integrated with building or ground investments in contaminated areas or in areas of landfills.

According to data from the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Czech Republic within one year installed 411 MWp. Thus, Czech Republic, ranked by size of the new installed capacity, jumped from 7th place in 2008 to the 3rd place. And ranked by size of the total installed capacity, jumped from the 8th place in 2008, to the 4th position. Czech Republic achieved such impressive results, most of all on the base of incentives, which however didn’t anticipated that the cost of PV high-power plant would decline by nearly 40% in 2009. This situation happened because the Czech system does not differentiate levels of efficiency. Investors can choose between a conventional system of feed-in-tariff and environmental bonus which is added to the market price. In the latter case, the manufacturer sells energy to the dealer, who sells it on the wholesale market. Each year, the Energy Regulatory Office sets fares and bonuses for the whole year ahead, and the new prices may not be less than 95% of the rates of the previous year. At present, parliamentary debates are planned about the incentive program for 2011, which are going to include, among others such changes to the project as: reduction of feed-in-tarrif by 25% per year, re-calculation of tariffs when the payback period will be less than 11 years, in order raise it up to 15 years, the introduction of restrictions for power plants with a capacity of more than 20MWp, which would start operating after May 1 2011.

One of the countries that experienced the largest increase of installed capacity in 2009 is Belgium. According to data from the Flemish federation of photovoltaic companies, Walloon Energy Commission and the Brussels gas power plant, the following quantities of capacity were installed: 251 MWp in the Flemish Region, 38 MWp in the Walloon region and 3.1 MWp in the Brussels area. Total value of the power in 2009 amounted to 292.1 MWp, which gave Belgium the fifth place among European Union countries. The basis for this rapid growth in Flanders is implementation of a very attractive regional “green certificate system”, which offers a minimum price of 450 euros (or 0.045 euro / kWh) for photovoltaic green certificate (equivalent to the production of 1 MWh), regardless of capacity or type of installation. Such system was a natural motivator to build power plants with high yields, which have benefited most from the reduced costs of PV modules.

According to data from the French statistical office in France 185.2 MWp was connected to the network in 2009 (including 46.7 MWp in overseas territories), thus increasing three times the value of the total installed capacity in comparison to 2008. In 2009, it was thus 268.2 MWp. This growth is slightly lower than in other leading countries in the European Union, and this was the result of French government policy, which took the decision of not implementing the intensive promotion of terrestrial plants, but to implement the relatively low feed-in-tarriff. In 2009, a tender was announced to get the most benefit from this type of installation. The target capacity of 300 MWp is to be achieved in 27 phases, in four geographical areas with four different levels of sunlight. As a result, 119 applications were reported, for a total output value of 876 MWp. Installed capacity is ultimately much less than the reported application, which results from too high demand for power installation, additionally deepened by the lack of installers. Therefore, the regulations preferring Building Integrated Photovoltaics were re-introduced, establishing three types of pricing, depending on the type of building, its function (housing, health, education, etc.) and the type of connection.