Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Some recent moves in solar

Solar continues to make headlines:
  • Speaking of thin film solar (here, here, here and here), CleanEdge has passed on a recent announcement that Sharp is opening up a new thin-film solar manufacturing plant. The plant will have capacity to produce 15MW of solar cells. This kind of activity by the big players can be both good and bad for the smaller companies in the space, depending upon their go-to-market and exit strategy...
  • Solar concentrator technology appears to be reasserting itself, with the recent news announced at an NREL and Arizona Public Service conference that costs below $3 per peak watt are "imminent". To put that in perspective, with some basic assumptions about solar exposure, etc. in place, $3 per peak watt would equate to power at a cost of around 5 cents per kWh, which would be (very) roughly competitive with wind, coal and natural gas power. However, it's unclear from the press release whether the $3 per peak watt estimate includes installation, balance of plant, storage, etc., or if it's just an estimate of the cost of the concentrator module itself -- in which case the additional costs can make a big difference.


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