Despite the global recession and the uneven landscape of the solar industry, the forecast was sunny with a high chance of optimism at Greentech Media's sold-out Surviving the Solar Shakeout solar conference, which was held in Phoenix, Ariz. this week.
Here's a roundup of what you missed if you weren't out in the desert:
Travis Bradford of the Prometheus Institute surveys the global solar market landscape in his keynote speech at Greentech Media's conference in Phoenix. Germany is reliable but won't be growing much for long. The United States is now the magnet for the industry.
Although green energy may never rival the chipmaker's interests in computers, Intel is working to make its chips the brains inside of wind turbines, smart grids and other devices. Three trillion in stimulus dollars helps.
SolarCity has installed First Solar panels for about 60 percent to 70 percent of its residential customers since it inked a deal with the panel maker last fall. Thin films are considered unsuitable for home installations by many other installers.
There were two different stories coming from the panels at Surviving the Shakeout, wrote Senior Analyst Eric Wesoff. Solar City loves Arizona's incentives and sun, while Advent Solar has set up shop in New Mexico.
The state of Arizona currently gives consumers who buy solar systems a $3.00 a watt subsidy on systems they install. That's nearly twice the $1.55 per watt subsidy that California offers.
Borrego Solar Systems says it can put solar in the ground for about $5.50 to $6 a watt. But it will drop the price to $4.50 in the coming months.
Critics and doomsayers have predicted for several years that fast-growing sunbelt cities would become ghost towns because of rapid population growth and limited water supplies. It's not happening yet, says Phil Gordon, the Mayor of Phoenix.
3M's Dan Chen, Applied Material's Jonathan Pickering and Spire's CEO Roger Little joined in on a panel at Surviving the Shakeout to expound on their views for dropping the cost of photovoltaics.