Here’s an interesting article by Shyam Mehta, a contributor to Greentech Media. He argues that throughout 2008 we have built up a huge amount of PV supply – enough to produce about 14 GW of PV capacity. But it doesn’t look like we’re going to have nearly enough demand for all those gigawatts; only about 5 of them.
Thus, he does what any economist does and draws a supply and demand curve to figure out the price where they meet. If a company can sell PV at or below that price, says Mr. Mehta, it will survive the shakeout. If not… it can either try to get bought out or close up shop.
So who is going to survive? Who can produce cells cheap enough for 2009’s predicted demand?
- Those who produce Cadmium-Tellenium cells, like First Solar. CdTe delivers good efficiency and low costs.
- Those who make monocrystalline cells, like Sunpower and Sanyo. Monocrystalline is expensive to make, but achieves high efficiencies.
Who is not going to survive?
- Those who are making multicrystalline silicon cells on medium/small scale. There are better technologies out there, and if you can’t make it really cheap through economies of scale, no one is going to buy it.
Who’s in between?
- Those who make multicrystalline and amorphous silicon cells on a large scale. Actually, Mr. Mehta says that some of the large European companies that make this technology are secure enough to go in the first category. But for most of these companies, their fate is uncertain. If demand proves to be a little higher than expected, they can breathe a sigh of relief. If demand sags behind, though, they won’t be able to compete, especially with Asian competitors who can spend less on labor and can scale up tremendously.
The take away message here is that it’s not just about how many factories are coming online or how much capacity we have. t’s about finding the right price, which – in this environment of a roller coaster economy, bailouts, and ever changing policies – is essentially a guessing game.
Via Greentech Media
written by Dan G, May 20, 2009
written by Fred, July 01, 2009
|< Prev||Next >|