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Friday, June 12, 2009

SEMI PV Group Global Advocacy Efforts

SEMI has never been more engaged in public policy efforts, in more countries, in the past 6-months than it has in the 38 years of its existence. The majority of these efforts have been directed through our PV Group at the dynamic solar energy policies emerging in many regions.

The global photovoltaic solar landscape is comprised of many countries making significant contributions towards reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Many of these countries are contributing to the supply side of PV power--contributing cells, modules, equipment and materials--and a few countries are making a major contribution to the demand-side, deploying PV systems to generate clean, renewable energy in both on-grid and off-grid applications. In addition to tackling supply side issues involving equipment, materials and feedstock, the PV Group has also addressed the demand side with several recent public policy efforts in China, India, Taiwan and the US to expand the market for solar power.

In May, the SEMI PV Group released the white paper, “China’s Solar Future,” a preliminary report containing specific recommendations for a China photovoltaic (PV) policy roadmap. As the world’s fastest growing developing country, China faces a rapidly increasing demand for energy and the country has also been building a massive PV industry representing all facets of the supply chain, from polysilicon feedstock, ingots and wafers to cells and modules. Virtually all of this PV production has been exported. The report recommends an accelerated adoption of PV generated electric power in China to reach global average level of PV power generation by 2014.

Under the direction and guidance of the Taiwan PV Advisory Committee, the SEMI PV Group urged the swift passage of the Renewable Energy Act to increase the adoption of solar power in Taiwan. The plan is designed to increase demand for solar power, as well as boost research and development and support the development of the island’s green energy industries. In meetings widely covered by the Taiwan press, the PV Advisory Committee met with several legislators and government officials to advance the PV policy agenda.

In April, the PV Group Advisory Committee in India announced an outline and vision for the Indian solar market, including growth opportunities, potential socio-economic development benefits, the current market situation, and India public policy needs. The white paper entitled, “The Solar PV Landscape in India – An Industry Perspective,” suggests that India can play a leading role in the global photovoltaic and solar industry. The paper was developed by India PV Advisory Committee, represented by industry leaders from all sectors of the solar PV supply chain. The report was released by Mr. K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar at a special briefing for the media, and included strong demands for policies to increase solar deployment in the country.

In the United States, SEMI and the PV Group actively worked to include several innovation-oriented elements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1). The stimulus package included significant funding increases for key science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes for Standards and Technology and the Department of Energy. The bill also emphasized alternative energy with numerous provisions and new spending intended to increase government use of alternative energies, spur development of the domestic market and create “green” jobs. These provisions include the creation of a new manufacturing tax credit, a temporary loan guarantee program, a new DOE program that will provide grants as an alterative to the investment tax credit, and increased federal procurement. SEMI PV group is currently working closely with Congress on the upcoming energy bill.

In response to member needs and under the direction of PV Group Advisory Councils around the world, the SEMI PV Group will continue to advocate, collaborate and facilitate solutions to both demand and supply side issues in the global solar marketplace.

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