Yesterday (May 29th 2009) I did attend SOLARCON in Singapore.
One afternoon of overlook of Solar energy business.
* 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.