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Report: Solar Panel Revenue Could Drop 20% in 2009

Ucilia Wang: December 22, 2008, 1:54 PM

If you are convinced that next year will be a painful one for solar, then check out the latest figures from market research firm iSuppli: Revenue for the global solar panel market is expected to plummet nearly 20 percent in 2009.

That would be a drop from $15.9 billion in 2008 to $12.9 billion in 2009, coming after solar panel companies have experienced eight years of growth.

Blame it on the oversupply of panels. There will just be too many companies making them and not enough demand to erect them all. The problem already has occurred: The industry produced 7.7 gigawatts worth of panels in 2008 but installed only about half of them, said iSuppliā€™s solar analyst Henning Wicht.


News Roundup: Solar Crunch in Conneticut, Losses for Toyota, and Aussie Carbon Cuts

Michael Kanellos: December 22, 2008, 7:18 AM
It's another dismal day in the neighborhood. Connecticut's solar initiative -- which had hoped to offer consumers subsidies for installing solar systems over the next two years, is out of cash six months into the project says the Green Inc. blog at the New York Times. The governor is trying to scrape a little cash together and the federal tax incentives passed in the week of the financial debacle could help, but installers are worried. Spain went through a similar turmoil, which lead to an oversupply of panels. Connecticut is much smaller so the same won't likely occur. Meanwhile, Nikkei Net (subscription required) reports that Toyota may suffer a $1.67 billion (that's U.S.,...

Solar Startups, Part 6: Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)  (Update May 20)

Eric Wesoff: December 22, 2008, 7:00 AM

CSP Concentrating Solar Power

Despite the staggering capital requirements for the plant build-out, VCs have invested enormous amounts of early-stage funding in parabolic troughs, power towers, and Stirling engines. Once the technology is worked out, the challenge for these firms in 2009 is the financing of these billion dollar projects. VCs can’t do that without help from banks, PE investors, and government.

Ausra:  Utility-scale solar thermal using a parabolic trough-based system with a “compact linear fresnel reflector" used in conjunction with a yet undisclosed thermal storage technology.  Their most recent funding round was $60.6 million from KERN Partners, Generation...

The Stubborn Appeal of Hydrogen

Darryl Siry: December 22, 2008, 4:30 AM
There are some very strong arguments why hydrogen (used in a fuel cell EV) does not make sense as a short, medium or long-term solution. The most fundamental argument is that hydrogen is an energy carrier, not a fuel, since it requires energy inputs to "refine" into pure hydrogen from water or natural gas (it cannot be mined, like oil, coal or gas). Since the energy to create hydrogen for use in a fuel cell can be more efficiently transmitted and stored in a battery for use in a EV drivetrain, it will never make sense to pursue hydrogen since the energy is always better used in a battery electric vehicle (so the argument goes). The problem with this argument is that it is a...