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THE FRIDAY NOTE: US cos get 300-MW solar job in Ethiopia and the rest of the week's top picks

(SeeNews) - Nov 8, 2013 - In the first week of November two US companies grab a deal to install 300 MW of solar capacity in Ethiopia, China ups 2014 solar goal to 12 GW and NPD Solarbuzz forecasts improved PV demand in Europe for next year.

On Thursday, US firms Global Trade and Development Consulting and Energy Ventures said they had won a contract to build a 300-MW solar park in Ethiopia. As part of the deal, greenlighted by the country’s Ministry of Water and Energy, the partners will build, operate and transfer to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp (EEPCo) three 100-MW solar plants in the country's east. Site selection, due diligence and feasibility study for the project were finalised earlier this year.

More details on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/us-firms-to-build-300-mw-solar-complex-in-ethiopia-388297

CHINA LIFTS 2014 SOLAR GOAL TO 12 GW, INDUSTRY MARGINS IMPROVE

News agency Xinhua said Tuesday the Chinese government had proposed to boost the 2014 goal for new solar parks to 12 GW from 10 GW previously. The capacity of decentralised solar plants such as residential photovoltaic (PV) installations and facilities on public buildings will be 8 GW. The move is aimed at supporting domestic solar panel makers that are currently facing lower demand from overseas clients.

A recent market report by NPD Solarbuzz shows that some Chinese solar product makers are doing fine now that average selling prices have started to stabilise. The top 20 solar module suppliers saw their blended gross margins grow to 12.5% in the third quarter of 2013 from 11.3% in April-June, Solarbuzz said, with margins at China-based JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd (NYSE:JKS) and ReneSola Ltd (NYSE:SOL) surpassing 18%. The market analyst said it expected to soon see a number of major tier 1 Chinese module suppliers achieve gross margins of above 20%. No solar company has reported such margins since the end of 2010.

More details on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/china-lifts-2014-solar-target-to-12-gw-387712
and on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/jinko-renesolas-q3-gross-margins-top-18-solarbuzz-387163   

GERMANY, UK, ITALY, FRANCE TO LEAD PV DEMAND RECOVERY IN EUROPE

In Europe, the solar market situations is also improving. The continent is set to install only 10.5 GW of PV in 2013 -- a four-year low, but there is hope -- demand is seen to start recovering in 2014 mainly thanks to Germany, the UK, Italy and France. Again according to NPD Solarbuzz, after 18 months on the slide, quarterly PV demand in Europe is seen to start growing now and hit some 2.5 GW in the first half of next year. For the second half of 2014 Solarbuzz, even expects moderate improvements in demand.

More details on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/germany-uk-italy-france-to-lead-pv-demand-recovery-in-europe-387901

UK BOOSTS WIND CAPACITY TO 9.7 GW, NAREC GETS 99.9-MW NOD

On the European wind energy front Britain brought good news this week as RenewableUK said that the UK had installed 2,721 MW of new wind parks in the year through June 2013, bringing the total to 9,710 MW. In a report released on Wednesday, the trade body said that the new capacity additions have brought GBP 2 billion (USD 3.2bn/EUR 2.4bn) in investment to the UK economy. For the first time offshore wind exceeded onshore wind capacity additions.

At the same time, on Friday the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in UK said it had secured the Marine Management Organisation’s (MMO) nod for its 99.9-MW wind technology testing facility off Blyth, northeastern England. The Blyth offshore wind demonstration project calls for an investment of some GBP 350 million.

More details on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/uk-boosts-wind-capacity-to-9-7-gw-renewableuk-388003
and on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/mmo-okays-narecs-99-9-mw-blyth-offshore-wind-demo-site-388368

MICROSOFT INKS 110-MW WIND PPA WITH RES, WESTAR TO BUY 200 MW FROM APEX

Wind news from the US this week included two power purchase agreements (PPAs) for large southern projects. Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Monday unveiled a 20-year PPA with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc for the 110-MW Keechi Wind project in Texas. The US software giant explained that the deal would help it cut its carbon footprint in the region. Construction of the wind farm is to start early next year and be concluded in 2015.

On Wednesday, US utility Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) said it had sealed a 200-MW PPA with Apex Clean Energy Inc for a portion of the output of a wind farm near Arkansas City. The 300-MW Kay wind project in Kay County, Oklahoma is expected to enter the construction phase in 2015 and start power generation late in 2016.

More details on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/microsoft-inks-110-mw-wind-ppa-with-res-americas-387329
and on: http://renewables.seenews.com/news/westar-energy-to-buy-200-mw-of-wind-from-apex-388075

(GBP 1 = USD 1.608/EUR 1.198)

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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