All PV Predictions Were Wrong

Dubai, September 27, 2017 — At the Intersolar Middle East Conference, which took place on September 26 and 27 in Dubai, 86 international speakers presented past, present and future solar PV market developments. A total of 408 attendees made the Intersolar conference in Dubai the biggest standalone PV conference in the region.

Keynote speaker Jenny Chase, Manager, Solar Insight at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, was speechless in August when China’s NEA announced an additional 12 GW PV capacity installed in China in June and additional 11 GW in July 2017. “All predictions in the past were wrong”. It is very difficult to calculate the development of PV worldwide.

“If one market decreases another one shows up somewhere else in the world,” the analyst said. “US$3.9 trn out of total US$12 trn energy investments planned until 2040 will be solar. Solar PV rate was constantly underestimated,” confirms Dorko Eliaszewskyj, Global Head of PV Utility Scale, Siemens AG, Germany in his keynote speech. “PV solar will become the dominant energy source.”

Are all auction prices realistic? PV prices decreased tremendously in the past.

“If you bid assuming today’s prices for a PV auction in 2019, you’ll probably lose. And some of today’s super low prices are not build-able projects — they assume the most optimistic possible scenario for everything, not only module prices. To ensure that auctions are not dominated by purely speculative bidders, governments must ensure penalty fees are paid if projects are not built,” Jenny Chases ads. 

“The rapid introduction of PV globally is fueled by the availability of cost-competitive, distributed energy,” says Prof. Dr. Eicke R. Weber, Director, Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore (BEARS), Singapore.

It’s all about pricing, also in the electric vehicle (EV) sector. A battery used to cost US$1,000 per kWh capacity; today it’s only a quarter of that. The price will keep on decreasing, and EV model availability will increase massively by 2020. This means the infrastructure needs to be extended.

“Charging is needed when people are at work when the sun is shining, not at home at night, to do some good for the integration of solar in the grid,” says Jenny Chase.

Cities like Dubai keep on pushing renewables forward, as Hussain Hassan Mohamed Khansaheb, Director of International Cooperation Department, UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment, UAE explained in his keynote speech. New electric car owners will be able to charge their vehicles for free by 2019, use free designated green parking in Dubai, and get free electric vehicle registration.

“Energy business is changing dramatically. It’s about big data, cyber security, digitalization, distribution, stability, and responsiveness,” explains Mr. Eliaszewskyj on his view of how the future perspective of energy might look like. “It’s not an energy transition, it’s a technology transition,” emphasizes Prof. Dr. Eicke R. Weber in his keynote speech.

In 19 sessions, attendees received the latest technology and market updates in the MENA region, but also globally. PV Power Plants and energy storage were once again the blockbuster sessions, but also panel discussions about enabling PV in Pakistan and Afghanistan were in the focus of attendees.

“This conference is different from others in the region,” says Rakesh Shastri, communication manager at ABB MEA and one of the sponsors of the conference. “It covered many topics outside the box as e.g. African markets and the quality of the networking partners was very high-level. Intersolar Middle East is a very valuable platform to spread our message on renewables out to a broader audience.”

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Tina Engelhard is General Manager of Solar Promotion International GmbH.

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