Photovoltaic Panels: Positive Developments in Terms of Prices

We presently have many discussions about the development of the photovoltaic industry. Due to a large drop in market prices, many solar power companies are now in trouble. The price developments in Germany, China, and Japan are shown in Table 1.

 

Table 1. Development of Module Prices in €/Wp

Module type

Crystal

Thin film

Origin/type

Germany

China

Japan

CdS/CdTE

a-Si

µ-Si

July 07

~ 3.25

~ 3.00

~ 3.22

~ 2.35

~ 2.35

Jan. 09

3.19

2.95

3.16

2.10

2.21

Jan. 10

2.03

1.55

1.91

1.61

1.38

Jan. 11

1.71

1.47

1.63

1.25

1.08

1.26

Dec. 11

1.12

0.81

1.10

0.73

0.64

0.82

Price drop Jan. 2011 – Dec. 2011

34.5%

44.9%

32.5%

41.6%

40.7%

34.9%

Price drop Jan. 2009 – Dec. 2011

64.9%

72.5%

65.2%

65.2%

62.9%

 

Prices fell continuously from 2007 to 2010, followed by the largest price drop in 2011—nearly 40%. This quick price reduction made it impossible for some companies to put measures into place to ensure their profitability. The solar industry is now suffering from this situation, which can be seen as a opportunity for photovoltaic panels. Solar power comes with a range of prices and subsidies can much lower than before. This combination should increase the possibilities of installing more solar systems.

But then what will be the situation in the solar industry? If the price declines do not stop, many companies will go bankruptcy. Even the technology leaders might not survive. That means we have to somehow halt these price decreases in the short term to give the industry time to consolidate. In my opinion, it is necessary to prevent further price declines for the next one-and-a-half to two years to give the industry time to adapt to the new market conditions and define the limits to which solar power can be developed. This should also boost solar power installations.

Photovoltaic technology is usable everywhere, and it will be a vital element in the change from fossil fuels to renewable energies. We have seen the prices that can be achieved. This provides new trust in this technology and suggests higher prices are achievable, which would then allow power prices to be in the same range as those for the wind energy today. Our task is to slow the process of price reductions and to ensure that the industry does not collapse or be  destroyed forever.

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