1) Photovoltaic power generation policy and photovoltaic facilities
South Korea is the thirteenth largest economy in the world, and its oil demand depends entirely on imports. With the rapid increase in oil and coal import prices, in July 2008, the South Korean government decided to invest 194.4 billion won (US$188 million) in the development of solar and wind energy and hydrogen fuel cells that year.
South Korea has the most powerful solar energy incentive policy in the world, and can pay 0.70 USD/(kW.h) tax within 15 years for facilities larger than 30kW. South Korea’s solar energy incentive policy is also among the best in Asia and the world. South Korea’s goal of developing PV facilities is to reach 1.3 GW of facility capacity by 2011. This growth plan will place South Korea among the world’s leading countries in PV facilities.
Market research and consulting company Display Bank announced on October 20, 2009 that its survey showed that the total capacity of South Korean PV installations will reach 200MW by 2012. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy of South Korea has issued a PV market creation plan in October, which will increase the PV installation market in South Korea to 200MW by 2012. South Korea announced that it has six power generation subsidiaries and will invest 338.2 billion won to develop PV101.3MW in the next three years. A total of 51.5MW will be built by KEPCO’s subsidiaries, and 49.8MW is expected to be built by individual photovoltaic companies. The RPS policy will require an increase of PV100~150MW in 2012.
The largest solar power station in Korea Park, built in Yeonggwang County, Jeollanam-do, was put into operation in April 2008. The solar power station occupies an area of 6.4×104m² with an installed capacity of 3000kW. The power station started construction in November 2006 with an investment of 23.3 billion won. It is divided into phase 1 (1250kW) and phase 2 (1750kw). During the construction, a total of 15,048 fixed heat collectors were installed, each of which can generate 0.2kW, which can simultaneously supply the electricity used by 1,500 households at the same time. It has the effect of replacing about 845t of oil and reducing 2123t of CO2 emissions every year.
The largest solar power station in Korea built by LG Group was completed in Taean, Chungcheongnam-do on July 17, 2008, and was put into operation. The LG Group has invested a total of 110 billion won in the construction of the power station, which is operated by LG Solar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the group. The power station covers an area of about 3×105 m² and has a power generation scale of 1.4×104kW. It provides power to 8,000 households in Taian. It is the single largest solar power station in Korea. The power generated by the power station is sold by LG Solar to Korea Electric Power Company at a price of 677 won/kW, with annual sales of up to 13 billion won. In addition, solar power generation can reduce CO2 emissions by about 1.2×104t per year, and carbon dioxide emission rights trading can increase additional revenue of US$285,000 per year.
Conergy of Germany announced on August 13, 2008 the construction of Asia’s largest solar power generation facility in South Korea. The project with an investment of 20 million euros (29.8 million US dollars) was built in Sinan in southwestern South Korea. This expansion project was completed at the end of 2008, adding 4.35MW to the original 19.6MW facility. The original 19.6MW facility invested 90 million euros and was completed in June 2008. When the expansion is completed, the facility will cover an area of 7.2×105m², equivalent to the size of 96 football fields, and can supply electricity to 7,200 households. The facility includes a solar tracking system developed by Conergy, which increases energy efficiency to 20%.
South Korea’s Samsung C&T announced on October 6, 2008 that it will build a 3MW solar photovoltaic power generation facility in Jindo, South Jeolla province, and provide electricity to 1,500 homes in the region through So1-LuceJindo. S-Energy designs and builds the system and provides solar modules. Thompson Technology Industries (TTI) provides the Sun Seeker single-axis tracker system. The Sun Seeker single-axis tracker system can generate more electrical energy than a conventional fixed-set system. The electrical energy generated by this system is 10%-20% higher than that of a fixed-set system and 25% higher than a flat-plate setting system. The 3MW system consists of 17,136 S-Energy 175-MQ modules, covering an area of 86,000 m², and only uses 12 drive motors to drive the Sun Seeker tracker.
The 1MW (1000kW)-class solar power station built by Sharp Corporation of Korea in Yeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, was put into operation in mid-February 2009. The power station is a package project undertaken by South Korea’s Sharp Corporation from design and construction to completion and commissioning. The power generation equipment is composed of about 5,800 polycrystalline silicon modules, with an annual power generation capacity of 1.35×106kW, which can meet the electricity needs of about 600 ordinary households in Rongzhou.
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association predicts that the Korean PV market will increase by 250 to 300MW in 2010. The Korean PV market is expected to grow to 1.3GW by 2013.
2) Solar cell and polysilicon production
South Korea’s long-term goal is to become an important exporter of solar energy technology and to capture 10% of the global green technology market by 2020. Korea imported almost all PV modules and technical know-how from abroad before, and 85% of the PV modules installed in Korea depend on imports.
Spire, located in Massachusetts, USA, announced on November 4, 2008 that it will provide Hanwha Chemical Co., Ltd. of South Korea with its Spi-Line3OC complete set of factory production lines, which can be used to produce solar cells up to 30MW per year. This allows Hanwha Chemical Co. to enter solar energy. market. Spi-line3oC technology uses monocrystalline silicon to produce high-efficiency solar cells. The solar cell production line is large-scale. Once the production line reaches the mass production target, it is easy to expand its capacity to more than 30MW.
As a shipbuilder, Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea announced at the end of October 2008 that it had won a contract to supply 40 million US dollars of solar modules to a German company. The module supply contract between Hyundai Heavy Industries and MHH So1artechnik was fulfilled at the end of 2009. Hyundai Heavy Industries has built its first solar cell production plant, which can produce 30MW solar modules per year. The second plant is expected to be completed in 2010 with an annual output capacity of 330MW. In March 2008, Hyundai Heavy Industries has agreed to cooperate with KCC, South Korea’s largest building material manufacturer, to produce polysilicon for use in the manufacture of solar cells.
Korea’s DC Chemical Company, which was renamed OCI on April 1, 2009, announced on October 7 that the company’s second polysilicon plant in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, South Korea was officially put into production. The production capacity of the device is 1×104t per year, making OCI the second largest polysilicon producer in the world after Hemlock Semiconductor Company in Michigan, USA. OCI’s total investment in Koriyama’s combined facility amounts to 1.01 trillion won (US$863 million), and the company’s current polysilicon production capacity has reached 1.65×104 tons per year. Polysilicon is a key raw material for the solar energy industry. The president of OCI stated that the company’s second multi-silicon device is the largest in the world in terms of single device capacity. Land” has become a holy land for the development of the solar energy industry.