Technology Innovations: Solar(PV) Grid-based
Day: Tuesday, 6th October 2015
Time: 9:30 – 11:00
Room: Hall 1A
In less than 15 years, solar PV has become a major player in the power sector. From only 1 GW in 2000, the global cumulative PV capacity reached 177 GW at the end of 2014. Until 2012 this remarkable growth was fuelled by Europe; new, fast-growing markets have emerged in 2013 and 2014. In addition to Europe, China, Japan and the US were leading the market development in 2014, while several other countries (such as Korea, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Chile and Taiwan) experienced a large increase. These trends reflect the increasing cost-competitiveness of solar power. The rapid cost decrease of PV systems—80% in 8 years— turned solar PV into a competitive generating technology able to produce clean power at cost levels, close to prices observed for conventional options such as gas or new nuclear.
However, the energy transition towards a clean energy future also raises some new challenges: In 2014, for the first time, renewables produced more power than nuclear in Europe. This illustrates that the way electricity grids are planned, developed and operated should evolve and that power systems should become more flexible. Furthermore, given that solar PV equipment manufacture and system installation are capital-intensive investments, ensuring stability and predictability of the regulatory framework and the sustainability of the market are key to reducing the risk-premium associated with PV investments and therefore the cost of capital.
Questions to be addressed by the session
- As we have seen, flexibility should become a main feature of future power systems.
- What are in your views the main solutions to provide such flexibility?
- How should this be reflected in the regulatory framework?
- What are the best options open to a country to take advantage of the significant renewable energy tariff reductions experienced over the last four years?
- The energy transition requires capital-intensive investments, which means that a high cost of capital could make this transition more expensive.
- How to create long-term visibility for investors and drive investments in the renewable energy sector?
- What are the enablers or obstacles in allowing specific medium and long term national renewable energy targets to be defined?
- Once medium and long-term targets for renewable energy are defined, what options are there regarding processes that should be followed?
- From an institutional perspective, what are the minimum requirements to foster for long-term visibility (e.g. the role of an independent transmission function)?
- What are the enablers of increased localisation of manufacture, which would eventually decrease the currency risk and provide extended benefits to the country? How is this possible in an environment of rapidly falling PV prices?
- Being a cost-competitive energy source is not enough – markets should be adapted to ensure they properly remunerate all actors.
- What are in your opinion the main market reforms which are needed to properly remunerate renewable electricity?
- In a market such as South Africa, what are the obstacles to introducing dynamic cost reflective Time of Use tariffs?
- Significant gains have been made around the world with expanded economies of scale, whether it is in manufacturing, larger sized PV plants, or larger numbers of PV Plants.
- What are the typical obstacles preventing a country from benefitting from such economies of scale?
- What options are there to balance the requirement for competitive pricing and ability of PV to contribute towards removing substantial mismatches between supply and demand? (For instance, in South Africa PV prices are falling while national electricity demand exceeds supply).
- What other economic sectors could expand and create jobs with a better supported renewable energy industry? What options are there to manage any tensions between economic development at a ‘micro’ level (e.g. communities in the vicinity of PV farms) and ‘macro’ level (e.g. a country’s economy)?
- Mr. Paddy Padmanathan, CEO, ACWA Power, Saudi Arabia
- Mr. Moeketsi Thobela, CEO, South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), South Africa
- Mr. Agostinho Miguel Garcia, Principal Consultant, Sun Business Development Lda, Portugal
- Mr. Frank Spencer, First Solar, South Africa
- Ms. Jasandra Nyker, CEO, Bio Therm Energy (Pty) Ltd, South Africa
- Mr. Senzosenkosi M Myeni, Manager Energy Market ESDS, Eskom, South Africa
Closing remarks:Hon Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson, MP, Minister of Energy, South Africa (tbc)