Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

EcoATM Raises £25m To Roll Out e-Waste Cashback Machines

Posted: 19 Feb 2013 12:00 AM PST

EcoATM raised £25 million ($40 million) in debt financing to deploy more of its e-waste machines across the United States. The mezzanine debt financing  was obtained from Falcon Investment Advisors.

 

ecoATM Demonstration -  Image obtained from ecoATM.com.

ecoATM Demonstration -
Image Credit: ecoATM.com.

These allow people to deposit their discarded cellphones and other electronics for recycling, and the machines in turn pay them.

EcoATM has already installed 300 machines in shopping centres in the US so that consumers and businesses can easily sell their old small electronics. The machines operate by examining the device and then finding the highest price for it on the market, then the owner decides whether or not they want to sell it for that price.

This new £25 million funding will allow EcoATM the chance to install these machines outside of larger cities.

EcoATM is a company based in San Diego, California, United States. You can find EcoATM locations here.

Source: Businessgreen.com

Follow me on Twitter: @Kompulsa.

EcoATM Raises £25m To Roll Out e-Waste Cashback Machines was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

2nd Thing I’ve Learned From The Tesla–NYTimes Firestorm

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 03:56 PM PST

This article has been reposted from EVObsession.

Shower by SweetCapture, some rights reserved. (Yes, this picture is relavant to this article -- read on.)

Shower by SweetCapture, some rights reserved. (Yes, this picture is relavant to this article — read on.)

As I just noted in another article, even I have learned something pretty important from this whole Tesla–NYTimes debacle. But the thing discussed in that article isn’t the only thing I learned from all this. I’ve also learned that it’s a lot easier to get people to focus on what they’re losing than on what they’re gaining.

Or, an alternative to that might be: it’s a lot easier to get people to focus on the negative than on the positive.

Or: it’s a lot easier to convince people to stay stuck in their ways than to be leaders.

The first two points come to mind because of one specific issue that differentiates electric cars from gasoline-powered cars (and the third comes to mind from the first two). That specific issue is convenience.

The general “wisdom” is that gasoline-powered cars are more convenient because you hardly ever have to go more than a few miles to find a gas station. In other words, you don’t have to do much thinking or planning to keep from running out of gas.

However, thinking and planning aren’t equivalent to inconvenience. In fact, if it’s a simple matter, they’re extremely easy things to do. And if you actually develop a habit out of that thinking and planning, things get obsessively convenient.

Much more inconvenient is standing outside in the heat or cold at a dirty gas station and smelling the harmful and disgusting fumes of gasoline (though, I hear that some people actually like the smell… not sure how that came about). With an electric car, you simply don’t have to go through that. You simply plug your car in when you get home and/or when you get to work, and then you unplug it when you leave again. Ridiculously simple. Ridiculously convenient compared to standing at a gas station on a regular basis.

It’s like the convenience of having a shower at home versus having to go to a public shower to wash up every day or two.


 
When it comes to convenience, I think it’s obvious that an electric vehicle wins hands down.

But hey, there’s actually more to the convenience of an electric vehicle versus a gasoline-powered car. Electric motors are a lot simpler than internal combustion engines, and they have a lot fewer moving parts. Basically, with an electric car, you don’t have to get oil changes and you don’t have to deal with all sorts of maintenance issues and replacing of parts that you have to deal with when you own a gasoline-powered car.

So, next time you get into a conversation with someone and they start talking about the “convenience” of a deadly gasmobile versus an electric vehicle, please do everyone a favor and direct them over to this article!

2nd Thing I’ve Learned From The Tesla–NYTimes Firestorm was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

1 Thing I’ve Learned From The Tesla–NYTimes Firestorm

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 03:21 PM PST

This article has been reposted from EVObsession.

We’ve written several articles on the Tesla–NYTimes (or Tesla–John Broder) story. But way beyond the specifics of that actual story, several electric vehicle topics keep coming up in other bloggers’ or reporters’ articles about the story, and in comments on the bottom of all those articles. Unfortunately, perceptions regarding several of these topics are often a bit off. Here’s one of the biggest things I learned from this whole Tesla–NYTimes firestorm:

People Don’t Understand How They Drive

97 percentOne of the only articles I read and actually found useful about the Tesla–NYTimes debacle was one by Martin LaMonica on OnEarth. He pulled out a stat that I think is very important — “Nearly all — 97 percent — of the driving trips that Americans take are less than 50 miles, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

Why is this stat so important? Because there’s a great misconception about how much range an electric car needs to have. The test drive on which John Broder was taking the Tesla Model S was a very long test drive, a drive that almost no one makes on a regular basis… if ever. 450 miles is far longer than the 50 or less that we drive 97% of the time.

Now, jumping off of that stat above, look at the range of these pure electric vehicles:

Yep, 11 pure-electric vehicles have a range greater than 97% of our trips. Obviously, this means that, for most of us, pure-electric vehicles have adequate range for our daily, weekly, and even monthly needs. It is not a compromise to go electric.

Yet, many, many commenters, and even reporters and bloggers who supposedly have an “expert” opinion on the matter, don’t realize this.


 
Yes, some people do take longer trips on a regular basis (but that’s a tiny percentage of our population). Yes, some people like to take long road trips (rather than flying, taking the train, or taking a coach/bus) when they go on vacation. But even for those people, there are extended range (or plug-in hybrid) electric vehicles that will give you the range of an inefficient gasmobile when needed but will run on electricity the majority of the time. Check out these plug-in hybrid electric vehicles:

In summary, there are a ton of electric vehicles one could buy and drive for all of their regular purposes. There are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that can fit the needs of those who regularly drive longer distances, or who have absurdly long drives to work and nowhere to charge there (but seriously, not many of you have a 25-mile trip to work).

For the rest of us, if you want to take a long trip in a car once a year or so, there are things called rental cars (a lot of people use them for this purpose anyway in order to keep their car in better shape), or you can see if a friend or family member wants to swap cars for a bit and maybe even accept an extra gift for the extra miles you’re going to put on their 4-wheeler.

Common sense? I think so. Unfortunately, it isn’t yet as common as it should be. Help spread the word!

1 Thing I’ve Learned From The Tesla–NYTimes Firestorm was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Can 10,000 Charging Stations Make New York City America’s Top EV Market?

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 01:59 PM PST

Michael Bloomberg may be entering his last year as New York City's Mayor, but one final policy push could keep the city's electrified transportation outlook growing for years and years as falling prices make electric vehicles affordable for more drivers.

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg picture courtesy New York City Mayor’s Office

In his final State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg outlined plans to make New York City "a national leader" in EV technology through a drastic expansion in charging infrastructure and EV fleets.

Massive Jump In Public Charging Stations

The EV infrastructure push centers on a series of building code amendments that could create up to 10,000 new parking spots to charge EVs by 2020. The amendments will require up to 20 percent of all new public parking spaces in private developments to be wired and ready for EV chargers to be installed as demand grows.

Many of the specific details will have to be worked out with the city council, but as envisioned, electrical conduits would be built into all structures during construction. Wiring could then be easily installed without retrofits, and EV chargers installed as more vehicles hit city streets and increase demand. These spaces would most likely serve as Level II chargers, which take several hours to deliver a full battery charge.

Electrifying NYC’s Taxi And City Vehicle Fleets  

Bloomberg also announced the city will install two Level III fast chargers as part of a curbside charging pilot program. Two 480-volt charging stations will be opened in Manhattan and provide 30-minute charging, with one open to the public and one reserved for six Nissan Leaf EVs that will begin service in the city's taxi fleet at some point in 2013.

And those six electrified taxis are just the vanguard of a larger shift, said the mayor. 50 more EVs will be added to the city's vehicle fleet, joining 450 other plug-ins already in service, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission will set a goal of ensuring one-third the entire taxi fleet was electrified by 2020. Considering the last comprehensive assessment pegged the city’s total taxis at 13,000 vehicles, that's quite an electric expansion.

Charging Even More Important In New York

Increasing charging options is always key, but it’s even more critical in the Big Apple. Most suburban EV drivers can fall back on the ability to charge their batteries at home, but that's a luxury city drivers can't afford when they're circling their block looking for a place to park or pulling into a public garage near their destination.

The typical level of range anxiety can be even worse during the winter, when EV batteries can lose up to a third of their range during the coldest months. A recent report prepared for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) found that much more public EV charging infrastructure was needed to help the region meet its full EV integration potential.

Once completed, Bloomberg's EV push could help New York City compete with California's push to be the country's hottest electrified transportation market and give drivers a new sense of comfort investing in an EV. But at the very least, it will certainly help prevent wayward reporters from running out of power on the side of a road.

Can 10,000 Charging Stations Make New York City America's Top EV Market? was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Other Cleantech & Environment News: Nuclear Disaster In France Would Cost 20% Of France’s GDP; Fracking News…

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 12:00 PM PST

Other than the solar news, wind news, transport news, and climate news I just shared, below is some more environment and cleantech news from the past week or so from around the interwebs.

Note: following this post, I’m actually going to streamline this news roundup process by sharing daily “other cleantech & environment” roundups only in this Google Doc (rather than doing so there and on this CleanTechnica page). Also, I’m not going to share our CleanTechnica stories in that doc, so be sure to check in on CleanTechnica for the top cleantech stories of the day. :D

Other Cleantech & Environment News: Nuclear Disaster In France Would Cost 20% Of France’s GDP; Fracking News… was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Climate Change News: Warmest Decade On Record; Cities Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 70%; Climate Change More Threatening Than Asteroids…

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 11:30 AM PST

Below is some top global warming and climate change news and commentary from around the interwebs from the past week or so that we haven’t covered (climate science and climate policy stories).

Note: following this post, I’m actually going to streamline this news roundup process by sharing daily Climate Change News Roundups only in this Google Doc (rather than doing so there and on this CleanTechnica page). Also, I’m not going to share our CleanTechnica stories in that doc, so be sure to check in on CleanTechnica for the top cleantech stories of the day. :D

Climate Change News: Warmest Decade On Record; Cities Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 70%; Climate Change More Threatening Than Asteroids… was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Transport News: Henrik Fisker Interview; 4 Generations Of Bike Sharing, EVs Taking Off In Holland…

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 11:10 AM PST

For those obsessed with clean transport, below is some top transport news and commentary from the past week or so that we haven’t covered.

Note: following this post, I’m actually going to streamline this news roundup process by sharing daily “Transport News Roundups” only in this Google Doc (rather than doing so there and on this CleanTechnica page). Also, I’m not going to share our CleanTechnica stories in that doc, so be sure to check in on CleanTechnica for the top cleantech stories of the day. :D

Transport News: Henrik Fisker Interview; 4 Generations Of Bike Sharing, EVs Taking Off In Holland… was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Wind News: Puget Sound Energy Wind Farms Set Record; New Trends In Financing Wind…

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 10:50 AM PST

For the wind-obsessed, below are some top wind energy stories from the past couple days or so.

Note: following this post, I’m actually going to streamline this news roundup process by sharing daily Wind Energy News Roundups only in this Google Doc (rather than doing so there and on this CleanTechnica page). Also, I’m not going to share our CleanTechnica stories in that doc, so be sure to check in on CleanTechnica for the top cleantech stories of the day. :D

Wind News: Puget Sound Energy Wind Farms Set Record; New Trends In Financing Wind… was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Solar News: SolarCity Wants You To Steal Its Contracts; Germany Reaches Out To Neighbors…

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 10:30 AM PST

Below are some top solar power stories (other than our own) from the past week or so. Enjoy!

Note: following this post, I’m actually going to streamline this news roundup process by sharing daily Solar Energy News Roundups only in this Google Doc (rather than doing so there and on this CleanTechnica page). Also, I’m not going to share our CleanTechnica stories in that doc, so be sure to check in on CleanTechnica for the top cleantech stories of the day. :D

Solar News: SolarCity Wants You To Steal Its Contracts; Germany Reaches Out To Neighbors… was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Thin Film Silicon Solar Cells Reach New World Record Efficiency Of 10.7%

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 09:13 AM PST

A new world efficiency record has been set for thin film silicon solar cells by EPFL’s Institute of Micro-engineering, reaching an impressive 10.7%. That is a significant increase in efficiency from the previous record of 10.1%. The new single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell had it’s record independently verified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

20130217-224614.jpg

“Deep understanding has been gained these last years in material quality, efficient light-trapping and cell design, which in combination with careful process optimization led to this remarkable world-record efficiency,” says Simon Hänni, a PhD student at IMT Neuchâtel.

Impressively, the solar cell consists of just 2 micrometers of photovoltaic active material, which is a significant advantage, allowing it to be easily incorporated into larger modules. Standard wafer-based crystalline silicon photovoltaic technology currently uses absorber layers — “with a thickness of about 180 micrometers for module conversion efficiency of 15 to 20%, 10.7% efficiency was reached here with only 1.8 micrometers of silicon material, i.e. 100 times less material than for conventional technologies, and with cell fabrication temperature never exceeding 200°C,” Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne writes.

Using considerably less material will go a long way towards reducing the cost and weight of modules.


 
“The reported progress is of paramount importance for increasing further TF-Si PV devices efficiency and potential, as at least one microcrystalline silicon junction is systematically used in combination with an amorphous silicon junction to form multiple junction devices for a broader use of the solar spectrum,” Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne adds. ”The reported record efficiency clearly indicates that the potential of TF-Si multi-junction devices can be extended to > 13.5% conversion efficiency with a minimum usage of abundant and non-toxic raw material at low costs.”

This announcement follows right behind other very exciting developments in the thin film solar industry, including the announcement that new thin film solar power is being sold for less than coal power in New Mexico.

Image Credit: © PVLab / EPFL

Thin Film Silicon Solar Cells Reach New World Record Efficiency Of 10.7% was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Solar Glass Buildings Now Possible, Just 10% Increase In Total Building Cost

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 08:53 AM PST

Huge skyscrapers covered in glass solar cells that able to generate more than enough electricity for their own operations could become common in the future. Oxford Photovoltaics, a solar power company that produces colorful photovoltaic glass specifically for this purpose, recently announced a big boost in investment funding, receiving over £2 million.

20130218-000009.jpg

The investment comes from the cleantech investors MTI Partners. It will help to bring the solar glass to the commercial market.

“What we say here is rather than attach photovoltaics to the building, why not make the building the photovoltaics?,” Kevin Arthur, the company’s founder and CEO, told the Guardian. “If you decide to build a building out of glass, then you’ve already decided to pay for the glass. If you add this, you’re adding a very small extra cost. (The solar cell treatment) costs no more than 10% of the cost of the facade.”

“These generally cost between £600 and £1,000 per square meter, meaning the new cell treatment would cost just £60–£100 extra per square meter.”

Turning regular glass into an electricity-generating medium is rather simple. The company simply adds a layer of clear, solid-state solar cells no thicker than three microns. This results in glass that turns about 12% of the solar energy that hits it into electricity.

“Within reason we can print any colour, there’s a wide range of dyes, blues and greens and reds and so on. But different colours have different efficiencies: black is very high, green is pretty good and red is good, but blue is less good,” said Arthur.

The new investment will specifically allow the creation of a new manufacturing facility, the hiring of new staff, and the purchase of new equipment. The company is aiming to have full-size panels ready for trials by the end of next year. Smaller samples will be available by the end of this year.

In related news, researchers at the University of Sheffield and University of Cambridge have created a method to “spray paint” solar cells onto surfaces, such as roofs and walls (not the first to explore this possibility); and a handful of other groups have also been working on windows that act as solar power generators.

Professor David Lidzey from the University of Sheffield said: “Spray coating is currently used to apply paint to cars and in graphic printing. We have shown that it can also be used to make solar cells using specially designed plastic semiconductors. Maybe in the future surfaces on buildings and even car roofs will routinely generate electricity with these materials.”

Both interesting technologies, and both should be available within the next couple of years. It’ll be interesting to see how they fit into the wider, and growing, solar energy revolution.

Source: The Guardian
Image Credit: Oxford Photovoltaics

Solar Glass Buildings Now Possible, Just 10% Increase In Total Building Cost was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Shopping For Solar Panels Just Got Easier With Free New Online Tool

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 07:20 AM PST

You have a roof, you have the sun, and now there is a free online solar power shopping service that makes it easy to shop around for a solar power company that will give you the best bang for your solar buck. The new service is the Online Solar PV Marketplace, developed by EnergySage for President Obama’s SunShot Initiative.

The goal of SunShot, which launched in 2011, is to make solar power just as cheap and accessible as fossil fuels. That includes breaking down information barriers for potential solar consumers, which is precisely what the Online Solar PV Marketplace does.

free online solar power shopping service

Solar Power Shopping Made Easy

The Online Solar PV Marketplace is free for both residential and commercial property owners.

You start by taking a simple online survey that lets you outline the relevant details about your property. Then you list your property on the PV Marketplace, and EnergySage’s preselected network of solar companies will start bidding on your job.

Instead of having to compare different forms, formulas and variables from different companies, you receive all of the bids in a clear, standard format.

If you’re wondering what EnergySage gets out of this, they pick up a small commission from the solar companies. You pay nothing.

The PV Marketplace is rolling out on the East Coast first, but if you’re in other regions it’s still worth checking out now (here’s that link again). Aside from providing background on the technology in plain language, the site provides information on purchasing and financing, as well as profiles of the provider companies and a helpful blog, too.

Reducing The Soft Cost of Solar Power

EnergySage received a $500,000 SunShot award last year for the PV Marketplace, as part of a SunShot initiative aimed at pushing rooftop solar panels into the mass market by cutting costs associated with installation.


According to the Department of Energy (DOE), these “soft costs” account for about half the cost of a typical rooftop solar array, and sometimes even less. The rest includes variables like shipping, labor, inspections, permits and grid connections.

SunShot is also working with the solar industry to reduce costs by developing economies of scale for solar installations, through a team-based initiative called “Most Affordable Rooftop Solar Prize.”

Image (cropped): Shopping by coolmikeol

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Shopping For Solar Panels Just Got Easier With Free New Online Tool was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Solar PV Below $2/Watt In Australia

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 06:38 AM PST

Solar Choice provides a solar PV price index for Australian solar that is updated monthly. Its price index is broken down by region, and from what I’ve gathered, it’s the best source for solar PV prices in Australia. Solar Choice has a network of over 100 solar installers.

The comparison shopping firm just recently released its February price index. As you can see in the table below, the median price for a 5kW solar PV system is now under $2/watt in Australia — $1.98/watt, to be specific. (I think that must be in AUD, though. At the current transfer rate, that would be USD $2.04/watt — still a great deal less than solar in the U.S.)

solar power price australia


 
For a little more context on how things are changing in Australia, Solar Choice writes: “Following on from the January PV Price Index, prices remain higher than previous months as a result in the decrease in available Federal Solar Rebates but despite this, the cost of solar PV continues to decrease.”

To read much more and see other tables on the price of solar and solar incentives in various regions of Australia, check out Solar Choice’s full post: Solar Choice Price Index – February 2013.

Presumably, Australian solar prices are much lower than U.S. solar prices for several of the same reasons German solar prices are much lower than U.S. solar pricesU.S. permitting regulations (or shackles) are much more costly; the U.S. market isn’t as mature or competitive; and U.S. incentives may be keeping solar prices higher. But this all requires much more research to be more than an educated guess.

Anyway, it’s great to see the price of solar dropping below $2/watt in Australia! Keep it up, you crazy Aussies!

Solar PV Below $2/Watt In Australia was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Nissan Leaf Reaches 50,000 Sales Worldwide

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 05:10 AM PST

Over the weekend, Nissan announced that its fully-electric Nissan Leaf had sold 50,000 units since its launch in 2010, a feat that Nissan believes marks it as “the best selling electric vehicle of all time.”

“So there, Caesar and Gengis Khan!”

Nissan also included its press release a that owners of the 100% electric car had covered more than 260 million kilometres, a number based on those vehicles registered with the Carwings telemetry system.

Really digging deep to publicise just how ‘green’ its car is, Nissan has pointed to a Japanese customer as the owner of the Leaf with the highest mileage, having covered more than 175,000 kilometres in only two years, while another customer in Spain has clocked over 43,000 kilometres in one year.

Earlier this year, Nissan cut 18% off the price of the Nissan Leaf in the U.S., making the 2013 Nissan Leaf S the lowest-priced five-passenger EV in the country. The UK Nissan Leaf also saw a considerable price drop, a £2,500 drop from £25,990 to £23,490.

While, just this January, Nissan announced that its new 2013 Nissan Leaf would not only be manufactured in the United States, but would also include a faster charging time thanks to a new, onboard, 6.6 kW charger that reduces 220V charging time nearly in half, down to approximately four hours for a full charge.

Nissan Leaf Reaches 50,000 Sales Worldwide was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Solar Industry Should Target India & China

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 04:10 AM PST

A glut of photovoltaic solar panels has swamped the market due to increased production but less demand, causing some companies to go bankrupt and a general malaise for the whole industry. Lux Research, however, contends that the solar industry must now target high-growth markets such as China and India in an attempt to transform in a cost-conscious environment.

Solar Industry Must Focus On India and China"While some historically strong demand markets will continue to pay dividends, the real winners going forward will need to make a few well-informed bets," said Matt Feinstein, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, Past is Prologue: Market Selection Strategy in a New Solar Policy Environment.

"Successful players will anchor business in key developed regions like the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China, and place informed bets in markets like South/Central America, the Middle East, and Africa, through new offices or partnerships," he added.

In its report, Lux Research analysed the risk versus reward for distributed and utility-scale solar in countries around the world, basing their analysis on policy and market factors. Among their findings were the following:

  • Europe shines for distributed generation. Established markets remain fruitful for distributed generation despite downturns in demand and reduced feed-in tariffs. Markets such as Germany and Italy have demonstrated a strong preference for rooftop systems and have strong existing channels to market.
  • Utility-scale generation soars in emerging markets. High-growth markets come with high risks as well, but emerging economies of India, China, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia are set to become solar powers. Competition is booming in the last three in particular, and each will exceed installation targets.
  • Fortune favors the bold. In solar, firms that take calculated risks and expand quickly into foreign markets will boost success, as First Solar and many Chinese module manufacturers have shown. As the Chinese industry consolidates, opportunities exist for other global players.

The solar industry has suffered over the past little while due to the massive increase of Chinese solar module production. However, Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute and Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at Caltech Dr. Harry A. Atwater recently cut across the traditional line of thinking, saying that the current glut of solar panels is a good thing for the industry:

"There has never been a better time to go 'long' on innovative solar technology. If we invest now, by the time the industry recovers from today's oversupply crisis, very advanced innovations will have emerged that can fuel the next wave of solar technology. These will build on the momentum created by the current phase of the market and dramatically expand the usefulness and adoption of solar.”

Regardless, the solar industry is in for an interesting year ahead, with the possibility for great change and growth, or spectacular failure.

Solar Industry Should Target India & China was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

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