South Korea Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said the country is ready to take a bite into the growing solar energy market with its steady technological gains and improvements in manufacturing.
This is according to Korea.net report, which cited the ministry as saying that the country has had all the necessary technology to produce quality solar electricity since 2006.
The ministry is confident that although South Korean technology levels stood at 70 percent of industry leaders like Sharp, Q-Cells and Kyocera in 2007, the country is making gains as more companies pour greater resources into R&D.
According to a ministry official, 61 percent of solar panels used in homes and 85.4 percent for larger industrial generation were imports in 2006. In less than a year, local manufacturers replaced foreign competition. In July 2007, the market share of foreign products for home solar generation dropped to 45 percent while numbers for larger commercial solar production facilities slid to 85.2 percent.
Meanwhile, exports of solar power-related equipment rose from $45 million in 2006 to $180 million last year.
The ministry believes that with the right amount of state support, South Korea will be able to generate 4GW of electricity through solar power by 2020, and increase to 18GW by 2030. Exports are expected to go up to about $1.48 billion by 2020 and over $6.3 billion by 2030.
In addition, Millinet Solar’s new solar cell factory in Daegu City is an indication that local companies are pushing to produce key components more effectively, the ministry said. Seoul will also provide continued incentives, more loans to finance research as well as remove administrative obstacles that could hinder solar energy generation.