Last week, the city of Munich hosted Intersolar, the world's biggest solar conference. Naturally, some of this week's highlights featured news, rumor, and innuendo emerging from that PV powwow.
In what appears to be a classic case of confirmation bias, analysts with very different opinions on solar came away from the conference with confirmatory evidence supporting their divergent beliefs. Mark Bachman, a big First Solar
Their difference of opinion appears to largely stem from a wide disparity in beliefs about the pricing of crystalline silicon (c-Si) modules. Bachman cited a drop to the $2.80-to-$3.15-per-watt range for "tier-1" modules. (I'm converting from the euro pricing.) Johnson noted reports at Intersolar that modules could be priced at the $2.24 to $2.38 range, though his industry contacts see leading Chinese firms like Yingli Green Energy
This is clearly the "rumor and innuendo" portion of the program. Even so, it's quite interesting. I don't have a line in to Suntech Power
Aside from Intersolar, in what initially appeared to be a huge news item, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Wednesday about China's imminent introduction of a $0.16-per-kilowatt-hour feed-in tariff. Given the transformative impact of this subsidy mechanism in places such as Germany, this would be rocket fuel for China's relatively immature domestic market.
The Journal appears to have jumped the gun, unfortunately. Chinese-language reports tie this tariff rate to one 10-megawatt project, rather than a whole region -- let alone the entire country. Still, it's encouraging to see the Chinese government taking up the notion of a feed-in tariff in the wake of recent adoptions by Ontario and Vermont. If you have no idea what this term refers to, check out my blog post.