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Solar Energy : myth or reality ?

Yesterday (May 29th 2009)  I did attend SOLARCON in Singapore.

One afternoon of overlook of Solar energy business.

Solar is about producing electricity using PhotoVoltaic (PV) technology.
After this afternoon, here are my ideas, my questions about this market:

  • the market is very promising, a lot of nice charts that show a wonderful market in … 2100
  • The ecosystem is not ready.
    For example, for PV panels are done using silicon, historically, silicon market is shared by 8 big players. Today, 120 companies are ramping up in china. The forecast is to keep 20-30 players.
    The prices went from 140$ / kg to 60 $/kg. No real idea of forecast.
  • The grid parity (solar electricity at competitive price) should be reached in 2012 in area with high electricity coast / lot of sun like Italy and California.
  • Current crisis has an impact on development : big investments are needed, and banks to not loan money these days.
  • The technology is improving a lot, often, so investment done today may be obsolete soon
  • Biggest countries (US, India, China) recently announced big plans to increase solar part in electricity production. Because they think green…and also because it’s a good way to develop economy during the crisis.
    To meet these targets of solar electricity production for 2030, the production of solar panel have to be 9 times bigger than what it is this year… for the next 20 years.. (sounds crazy, no ?)
  • To sustain ecosystem, all players ask the governments to give grants and to fix the electricity rates.
  • Smartgrid is mandatory for efficient solar electricity production.

My feeling after these presentations is good, but a lot of very big investments have to be done, it will take time.
Politics help will be needed to sustain these very long term investments.

[Update 2012 : it seems twitter do not keep old tweets, the link below does not work anymore today]

During the presentations, I’ve updated my twitter using the #solarcon tag (surprisingly, nobody else did this), so you can find my notes there.

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