Photovoltaics Technology

03 June 2013 04:22 PM | #Market Research

Please note that some of the information on this page is out of date.  It will be re-written shortly to include recent developments in the PV space.

Photovoltaics is the field of technology concerned with converting energy from the sun, also known as solar energy, into electricity. Several techniques can be used to harness solar energy, with solar panels being the most commonly associated with photovoltaic technology.

Investing in Photovoltaics

To date the photovoltaics industry has been plagued by enormous production costs. Overcoming these costs has resulted in the industry being heavily subsidised by governments.

Experts predict that the industry is set to undergo a significant transformation in the near future as manufacturing costs of solar panels decline due to a significant increase in Chinese production. Declining production costs are likely to result in the price of photovoltaic electricity being more competitive with that derived from fossil fuels.

In 2007, 39% of global renewable energy investments were made in solar energy technologies. With estimated revenues associated with solar panels predicted to rise from $20.2 billion in 2007 to $71 billion in 2012, the photovoltaics industry is considered to be relatively stable and is well established in comparison to technologies such as wave and tidal power. New Energy Finance expect the costs of solar PV to drop by 50% by the end of 2010 compared to 2008 levels; this could mean that grid parity is reached in sunny countries with high feed in tariffs by 2010.

Industry Drivers

The current and forecasted market conditions are only one of the many significant drivers of the UK solar energy sector. With the European Photovoltaics Industry Association (EPIA) agreeing to provide 12% of Europe’s electricity by 2010, a huge opportunity exists for the UK photovoltaics industry to contribute to this target. In addition, the Renewable Energy Framework Directive requires 20% of energy to come from renewable sources within the EU by 2020.  This level could be increased depending on the outcome of global climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Other UK industry drivers include:

As issues of energy security and climate change become increasingly central, governmental financial commitments such as these will play a significant role in creating appealing investment opportunities within the photovoltaics industry.