Global Solar-Panel Demand May Double as Countries Set Above-Market Rates

Global demand for solar panels may double this year as Germany and other European countries offer guaranteed, above-market rates for the power produced.

Solar-panel installations will probably rise to between 11.5 gigawatts and 14.8 gigawatts this year from 7.3 gigawatts in 2009, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in its photovoltaic industry outlook.

State support in most European countries drives investment in photovoltaic equipment, NEF said. In Italy, the prices paid for solar power are as high as 43 euro cents (57 U.S. cents) for each kilowatt-hour generated. That’s about six times the wholesale rate earned by fossil-fuel-burning plants.

Operators of solar power stations in France, the U.K. and the Czech Republic are paid similar rates. Spain and Germany, the biggest solar equipment market, are reducing rates.

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