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From: Eric2/13/2012 7:55:18 AM
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Cost of Wind Power compared to Other Technologies

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From: Eric2/13/2012 8:18:53 AM
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Polysilicon Prices Hit Record Low in 2011; Will Head Even Lower, Enabling $0.70/W PV in 2012

GTM Research publishes new report on polysilicon market, examining the epic price declines of 2011, the effect on the larger PV supply chain and the future of the market.

GTM Research publishes the Polysilicon 2012-2016: Supply, Demand & Implications for the Global PV Industry report, a comprehensive analysis on global polysilicon markets, including the technologies, business strategies and economic roadmap for the industry. To learn more, click here.

In 2011, the solar industry saw global oversupply drive PV prices to record lows, with crystalline silicon (c-Si) module prices falling from $1.80 per watt at the start of 2011 to $0.90 per watt by year’s end.

High purity silicon (polysilicon), the key feedstock for c-Si modules, played only a minor role in this price collapse, as over 80 percent of polysilicon is sold via long-term contracts, and the pricing on these contracts moved little for most of 2011. However, oversupply in the polysilicon market pushed the spot price of silicon down from $80 per kilogram in late March 2011 to under $30 per kilogram in December, representing more than a 60 percent drop. This substantially lower spot price gave silicon customers (i.e., wafer manufacturers) the leverage to renegotiate contract pricing downward, and this will result in much lower realized silicon average selling prices (ASPs) in 2012.

Lower silicon prices in 2012 will likely lead to even lower c-Si module prices. Without any other improvements, a $30-per-kilogram drop in silicon price would save module manufacturers approximately $0.20 per watt, which could bring module prices below $0.70 per watt.

For most of the past decade, polysilicon manufacturing was a near oligopoly, and growth in solar-end market demand allowed the incumbents to earn healthy and consistent EBITDA margins greater than 40 percent. In 2008, a shortage of polysilicon pushed prices to outrageously high levels (greater than $400 per kilogram in the spot market), and with those high prices came eye-popping 70 percent margins that enticed existing players as well as new entrants to embark on plant construction/expansion plans. These massive new plants and expansions made their presence felt in 2011, with a supply/demand imbalance pushing silicon prices to record-low levels, below even the cash costs of many manufacturers.

While spot pricing has collapsed and contract pricing is expected to follow, the cost of production has changed little, which implies substantial margin contraction in the coming years. With spot prices below $30 per kilogram, the scores of smaller, higher-cost producers face bleak options: continue to operate at a loss, hoping that pricing will recover before their cash runs out, or moth-ball the plant and live to fight another day. While oversupply will push many companies to shutter plants and lay off employees, other low-cost players will thrive and expand their share of the market.

“In 2011, in the polysilicon industry -- and the solar supply chain in general -- manufacturing outpaced end-use,” said GTM Research Senior Analyst, Brett Prior. “After a half-decade of silicon demand outstripping supply, the aggressive expansion plans finally overshot. This supply/demand imbalance will push producers to lower contract prices closer to the level of manufacturing costs at $20 per kilogram, and will force higher-cost manufacturers to exit the industry. While the solar market will continue to grow at a 10 percent to 20 percent pace in the coming years, reductions in the amount of silicon used in each module means that end demand for polysilicon will grow at a slower pace. The end result is that the current roster of over 170 polysilicon manufacturers and startups will likely be winnowed down to a dozen survivors by the end of decade.”

GTM Research expects to see established players such as GCL Solar, REC, OCI, Tokuyama, Hemlock and Wacker weather this extended period of pricing weakness, thanks to strong balance sheets, superior technology, and some of the lowest manufacturing costs due to economies of scale. These industry leaders will likely be able to continue charging premium prices, as reliability and certainty of supply will become more of an issue for their smaller competitors.

At over 230 pages, GTM Research's report includes production and price/margin forecasts to 2016, along with incisive perspectives on the industry's competitive landscape and survival strategies available to polysilicon producers.

Visit the report's web page today to learn more:

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From: Eric2/13/2012 8:27:34 AM
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Bipartisan letter from entire Iowa Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC

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From: Eric2/13/2012 8:33:50 AM
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China Increases Target for Wind Power Capacity to 1,000 GW by 2050

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From: Eric2/13/2012 9:38:15 AM
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This Land Is Your Land: BLM Seeking Input On Solar Project Development

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From: Eric2/13/2012 9:39:18 AM
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PG&E Reports Record Offers For 2011 Renewables Solicitation

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From: Eric2/13/2012 9:41:15 AM
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New Survey Shows Support For Solar Development In California Deserts

A decisive majority of citizens in California's desert communities strongly support the development of solar power facilities in their counties, according to a new survey conducted by Vote Solar, a nonprofit solar advocacy group, in partnership with Probolsky Research.

The survey assessed residents' attitudes toward solar energy development in California's Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

"Nearly four out of five people surveyed believe that the California desert is a great resource and should be used to develop solar power projects," says Adam Probolsky, CEO of Probolsky Research. "We polled just residents living in the desert communities where renewable energy projects are being proposed. Voters understand the impacts and the rewards of utility-scale solar projects in California's desert communities, and they support it."

The survey also found that the majority of respondents are concerned about global warming. Two out of three agree that renewable energy is an important part of California's future and that the state and federal government is right to provide financial support and tax incentives for renewable energy projects.

Jobs and the economy are by far the most important issues concerning voters in California desert counties. Unemployment rates in the counties polled are high, peaking at 26.8% in Imperial County. The construction sector is facing 18.9% unemployment across the state.

Polling data also showed that citizens of California's desert regions became even more supportive of utility-scale solar development in their county when informed that solar facilities will improve the overall air quality in their region as solar power facilities reduce dependence on California's fossil power plants.

The survey was underwritten by BrightSource Energy in order to assess community views, both positive and negative, about utility-scale solar in California's deserts, Vote Solar notes. Probolsky Research designed the questionnaire and surveyed a total of 1,019 voters.

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To: Eric who wrote (12804)2/13/2012 10:35:30 AM
From: Alastair McIntosh
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Wind energy: over 21% of all new power capacity in 2011

If you just read the way that the renewable cheerleaders frame the issue you would be under the impression that the EU gets a significant amount of power from wind and solar.

The latest numbers I could find from Eurostat tell a different story. In 2009 wind and solar provided 0.8% of gross inland energy consumption. Allowing for a 25% increase over 2 years the total for 2011 would be approx 1%.

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To: Eric who wrote (12813)2/13/2012 10:35:59 AM
From: Triffin
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"Jobs and the economy are by far the most important issues concerning voters in California desert counties. Unemployment rates in the counties polled are high, peaking at 26.8% in Imperial County. The construction sector is facing 18.9% unemployment across the state."

Siting decisions for Solar PV and Solar Thermal facilities should be based
upon the expected number of days of sunshine rather than upon the
strength or lack thereof of the local economy ..

Triff ..

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To: Alastair McIntosh who wrote (12814)2/13/2012 1:14:38 PM
From: Eric
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There are a number of countries in the Euro zone that have virtually no renewables.

That's not true in Holland, Denmark and Scandinavia,and especially Germany.

Your numbers are from 2009, a lot has changed in the last two years..

NG is expensive in most of the world. The rest of the world is not like the U.S.

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