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Sarah Brierley
12-31-2013 08:36 AM

How do you see the future of the solar market

How do you see the future of the solar market considering market leading companies such as Suntech are having to close down their manufacturing facility in the US?
12-31-2013 10:48 AM
Top #2
Tom Turner
12-31-2013 10:48 AM
The future of the solar market looks brite. I think you will see manufactures shrink to the
level which can support supply and demand. Business will continue to grow even as rebate programs go away. We need to push awareness and focus on the ROI.
12-31-2013 01:10 PM
Top #3
Andrew Dalfen
12-31-2013 01:10 PM
The demise of certain companies is only part of it, the increase in taxes on Chinese panels in the USA and with something similar about to happen accross the EU is another major factor, add to that the reduction in Feed-in Tariffs and other grant based schemes in Europe, the fact that the publicly bailed out banks are still reluctant to lend much money to business and the ridiculous notion of a 'dash for gas' and the solar pv industry is inevitably going to go through a slump in most established markets this year.

Money is tight in most industries and there seems no way to stop prices from rising far above inflation levels, at least compared to wages. I'm starting to sound really pessimistic here, but I doubt if the average installer will be able to buy any pv panels for less than 48p/W if purchasing by the hundred, come mid-late June and if you stick to well known companies that you can contact easily when you want to, that could easily become 50-52p/W.
12-31-2013 04:06 PM
Top #4
Bruce Chandler
12-31-2013 04:06 PM
Suntech is certainly a concern since they are such a large manufacturer. However, my understanding is that their plant in AZ was not large. I have customers looking for U.S. made solar panels, but competitively priced (compared to China) U.S. made panels are difficult to find. Selling products for less than they cost is not a solution on a long term basis. I feel like the solar MFG's who have made it through the last few years, particularly last year--which was not a great one in the U.S.-- have a good chance of succeeding.
I think also you have to look for positive trends in solar that are happening now, I write about a few of the here: http://solarmandotme.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/whats-new-in-solar/
12-31-2013 06:57 PM
Top #5
Giovanni Manzotto
12-31-2013 06:57 PM
The Solar market has two big enemies : Governments, they want to keep a "vertical model" to distribute the energy and doing so, they control people. Have a look to the incentives reduction everywhere, have a look to energy plan of each government, few percentage for solar. The second enemy, the level of offer : Thanks to Chinese players and Chinese government,with a socialist policy, (the heavily subsidy the top ten company), the offer overcomes the demand of 5-6 Gw yearly and they sell under cost-production (I am a producer). On the other hand, the wave has started off, you can not stop, a certain percentage of population worldwide that wants to produce energy for his own!!
12-31-2013 09:00 PM
Top #6
James W. Johnston
12-31-2013 09:00 PM
There are a handful of immediate barriers to widespread deployment of solar energy.

1) Finance -- banks are only warming to the idea of solar lending. While there are a number of companies that have access to institutional capital for solar leasing, there are far fewer that have access to affordable capital for homeowners who want to purchase solar. The reluctance of bankers to make retails loans is, of course, foolishness on stilts. People want their lights on, and solar has reached grid parity in a vast percentage of American electrical markets.

2) Disinformation -- There are a lots of "interests" that are not exactly amicable to rapid Solar Energy. They feel threatened. They (big oil and natural gas and coal, for example) remember when the "Big Energy Shift" occurred, specifically, in 1949, two thirds of the worlds energy was derived from coal; by 1971, two thirds of the worlds energy was derived from oil and natural gas. (Source: The Prize, Daniel Yergin). They know that more energy hits the earth from the sun in an hour than the human race consumes in a year.

3) Ignorance -- "It's too expensive." "It's ugly." "It doesn't last long enough." "It's inefficient." WRONG! My favorite, coming from a local mayor, was "Too many moving parts!" Hunh?

All of these, in the long run, will end up being small beer. The big pitcher? When solar becomes part of a new "Sip it, don't guzzle it (energy)" lifestyle ... it'll all take off like a rocket. Factories that are now in mothballs will be running 7/24 and expanding like mad.

Have no fear. It's a coming!

P.S. Shall we talk about everything that will accompany Big Solar?
12-31-2013 11:35 PM
Top #7
Claude Oiknine
12-31-2013 11:35 PM
James I agree with you on desinformation and ignorance.You can add to your list "it requires too much land ....."
What will be the trend of flat panels price in the five coming years? Suntech misadventure gives perhaps a beginning of answer. Western governments have no more huge monney to subside massively solar energy, particularly when Chinese panels are mainly bought and installed out of China. This dumping policy of China led to the bankrupty of the best western solar industries. In the future I guess that a big part of the Chinese production will be oriented towards the huge local market and we will reach an equilibrium of production and demand and an increase of solar panel price.
In fact today the price of panels is about 25% of the total initial price of a solar plant ; other components of the price have to be decreased in order to decrease the LCOE.
01-01-2014 02:25 AM
Top #8
James W. Johnston
01-01-2014 02:25 AM
Hi Claude --

Can you clarify what you mean by "It requires too much land?"

On another topic -- the subsidy issue is a sticky one. In the USA, the amount of subsidies provided many sectors is a many headed hydra. For example, the "Depletion Allowance" enjoyed by the Oil and Gas industry constitutes a colossal subsidy that has been going on for more than a century, continues to this day and represents tens billions and even hundreds of billions of dollars over the years.

Finally ... from a "let's get our economy healthy point of view"I would say that DG Solar and an "Energy -- Let's Sip it Not Guzzle It" state of mind is very likely going to be one of the keys to revitalizing our economy -- we would be putting money that is presently languishing in banks back to work, creating jobs, restoring social excitement, etc. Of course, a barrier to that is the big utilities, other special interests (the buggy whip manufacturers hated the horseless carriage), and inertia.

Me? I think that democratizing access to energy opens the door to a better world, and solar is one of the keys. But that is just one guy from Utah talking (and thinking, too! ;-)

Happy trails.
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