Japan nuclear crisis to benefit solar markets in Europe, says iSuppli
"Reaction to the Fukushima nuclear crisis has been swift in Germany and Italy," commented Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst for photovoltaic systems at IHS. "Germany responded quickly by shutting down seven of its oldest reactors, potentially boosting the prospects for renewable energy in the country. Meanwhile, Italy indicated it might upgrade the role of solar within the country and accept higher volumes of sun-powered energy."
IHS iSuppli noted that, by the third quarter of 2011, it will be clearer whether the German government is likely to proceed with a rapid exit from nuclear power. In that case, renewable energy is expected to be promoted more strongly.
Wind dominates current public discussions, but solar energy possibly could benefit as well. One possible course of action that could benefit the solar industry would boost the annual PV installation forecast, HIS iSuppli noted.
PV installations in Germany in 2011 are expected to reach 7.2 (GW), down 3.5 percent from 7.4 GW in 2010, according to the market research. Growth this year will oscillate, with moderate expansions in the first and third quarters alternating with very strong increases in the second and fourth quarters (See figure).
In Italy, the government said it has halted all plans for future nuclear power stations for the next twelve months while it re-assesses the role of atomic energy for the country.
The Italian government indeed announced early March that it would launch a new FIT program with fewer incentives by early June. Eventually, installation activity that was at a significant level in January and February for large Italian solar plants has all but stopped, and the only projects continuing at this point are those that are almost finished.
Under pressure, the solar lobby in Italy is likely to force the government to reconsider its plans, IHS explained. Also, the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster will lead to a new assessment of nuclear and solar energy in the country.
Excluding the possible effect of the Japan crisis in the months to come, IHS iSuppli said it anticipates the Italian PV market will develop very positively in 2011, with an expected cap of 1.5 to 2.0 GW from 2012 onward.