Thursday, February 28, 2008

Solar Seismic Shift prediction

Green Tech Media's Jennifer Kho has an excellent post on the chances of a shakeup in the solar power industry and what that might mean. Greentech Media's Solar Market outlook panel seems to think a shakeup is inevitable and the only remaining question is one of timing. It almost seems like yesterday that the buzz started :-) Some of the predictions show the shakeout lasting two to three years and being driven by the massive capacity addition and subsequent price competition. The general feeling is that the companies which can ride out the shakeup will be in a great position five or so years out.

Jennifer Kho's post also identifies some of the largest trends affecting the industry such as aggregation, partnerships/acquisitions, cost reductions, cross over from semiconductors to clean tech and others. The posts covering these trends make interesting reading, especially the one showing executive crossover from high tech to clean tech including such luminaries as Bob Metcalfe(inventor of Ethernet) and Vinod Khosla.

Speaking of Vinod Khosla, he is making bold predictions, (again?). He predicts that India will be the next greentech hub, due to the availability of a large pool of scientists and technologists and a potential large market for clean energy. Since India has very little oil and gas resources within the country, historically they have made early attempts at building nuclear power plants and quite a few hydroelectric power plants. In fact, my father was an engineer who was involved in the construction of three or four major hydroelectric projects. As a kid I remember living near those construction sites in the rainforests of Kerala, and visiting several of the dams and the first underground powerhouse in India which he helped construct.

However, India's energy needs are growing by leaps and bounds with the country's progress as also the environmental impact from fossil fuel use. India probably needs clean energy more than most other countries, but Khosla probably is right that mass adoption may not come till prices come down.


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