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Does the European Debt Crisis Mean Anything to the Solar Industry?- Al Velosa, Research Director at Gartner Inc.


Does the European Debt Crisis Mean Anything to the Solar Industry?

With the news of European debt crisis raising concern in world markets, individual industry participants are trying to figure out the effect it is going to have on their sector. Raj Prabhu, Managing Partner of Mercom Capital Group, a global communications and market intelligence firm specializing in clean energy, recently sat down with Al Velosa, Research Director at Gartner Inc., to gain his perspective on how the European debt crisis could affect the solar market.

Al Velosa is a Research Director at Gartner Inc. focused on the photovoltaic solar market.

Question: Has the current debt crisis in the European Union made you rethink your solar forecast for 2010 in any way?

Answer: We have already trimmed our forecast for 2010 based on proposed changes for the incentive program in Germany.  The crisis in Europe complicates the assumptions for our forecast a bit, but its central effect is to just lower the forecast a little more and to increase the error bars on our forecast for the year.

Question: Do you see any impact from the current debt crisis unfolding in the European Union (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) on the solar industry - Not to forget Germany was already forecasted down in 2Q.

Answer: This definitely raises the uncertainty in the industry as a whole. However, the central question is what impact it will have on the credit markets and interest rates.  If we see government’s increasing their rates to finance their debt, it may have a ripple effect and increase the cost to financing PV projects.

Question: Is the current crisis bad enough to affect subsidies?

Answer: That depends on how the crisis extends throughout the region.  However, remember that European governments have acted strongly to support domestic employment.  So unless the budget crisis becomes so acute that most programs are cut, we should see the governments continue to support their current level of subsidies and the employment that they bring.

Question: Are there any implications from the downward pressure on the Euro?

Answer: Between potential changes in interest rates due to government borrowing, the change in the Euro, and a bit of a drop in demand, we may see a stronger drop in average selling prices than we expected.  Thus we could see a stronger increase in demand from developing geographies as they look at options to support both renewable energy programs and local employment.

About Mercom Communications India

Mercom Communications India (Mercom), based in Bangalore, is the only clean energy communications firm in India.  Mercom is a subsidiary of Mercom Capital Group, LLC, a full service public relations, public affairs and market intelligence firm specializing in clean energy, based in Austin, Texas, USA.   At Mercom, we help clean energy companies gain market share while building powerful relationships with media, analysts, government decision-makers and local communities.  We arm our clients with timely market intelligence to ensure their competitive position and overall success.  For more information visit: http://www.mercomindia.com

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, LLC is a public relations, public affairs and market intelligence firm specializing in clean energy.   At Mercom, we help clean energy companies build powerful relationships with media, analysts, government decision-makers and local communities.  We arm our clients with timely market intelligence to ensure their competitive position and overall success.  Mercom Capital Group is located in Austin Texas with offices in Bangalore India.  For more information about Mercom Capital Group, visit: http://www.mercomcapital.com.

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