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14 June 2010

Sunny outlook for solar industry

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The world's biggest solar energy fair is under way in Munich, as growth continues to dominate the sector despite a reduction in government subsidies across Europe.

France, Italy and Germany have reduced their feed-in-tariffs recently, leading to a flurry of short-term installations and worrisome statements by officials from the solar industry.

The public outcry was loud but, in general, the industry likely won't suffer much: While growth in Europe may slow down, new markets are emerging in the United States, India and China.

The German solar energy industry in 2009 created more than 60,000 new jobs, banking on sales of nearly $13 billion and new installations of 3.8 gigawatts, pushing the overall capacity of nearly 10 GW.

Once dubbed an alternative energy sources, solar power has moved into the mainstream.

The International Energy Agency, the energy watchdog that has often been viewed as a protector of Western oil interests, last month said that solar energy could account for up to one-quarter of the world's electricity by 2050.

Photovoltaic cell technology and concentrating solar power together could generate 9,000 terawatt hours of power in 2050 -- almost one-quarter of global demand, the agency said in May upon publishing two new analyses on the solar power market. While PV panels directly convert the sunshine into electricity, CSP plants use the sun's rays to boil water and drive a turbine.

(Solar Daily)

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