Photovoltaic power to resume growth in 2011
Published:  31 July, 2009

NEW YORK: Photovoltaic technology has a very straightforward value proposition – it converts sunlight to electricity. Its advantages are simple to understand: sunshine is free, and the conversion process yields clean energy, with no harmful emissions or byproducts. Solar cells are long-lasting and non-polluting, typically operating for 25 years before being recycled. Photovoltaic systems have no moving parts, which means maintenance is minimal as parts do not wear out and require replacement, so lifecycle operational costs are low.

According to a NextGen Research study "The Global Photovoltaic Market: Sunny Prospects for Energy Independence Through Solar Power", photovoltaic demand will increase at a CAGR of nearly 24% from 2008 to 2013, with markedly stronger growth starting in 2011 after the global economy rebounds from the ongoing global recession.

Driving the installation and use of photovoltaics are concerns over climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the drive for energy independence, which has become a matter of national security for many countries. Additionally, the development of a domestic photovoltaic industry is seen as a promising means of economic stimulation during a difficult fiscal period, as well as a way to transition to a green economy.

Says Larry Fisher, research director of NextGen Research, "Federal, state and local governments provide economic support to help alternative energy sources like photovoltaic achieve parity, the point at which the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources equals that of electricity generated through the use of conventional sources, like coal or natural gas. That support is crucial, at least until the photovoltaic industry can achieve the necessary economies of scale to compete with standard, greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources.

"Feed-in tariffs have been effective in promoting photovoltaic power generation in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere; these tariffs mandate a baseline price at which the local utility must purchase excess electricity from a residential photovoltaic system."

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