The road to solar glory has been littered with failed companies -- the ones you may know (Solyndra) and hundreds you probably do not.

Will the burgeoning hydrogen space follow a similar bumpy road? Hydrogen is at a similar phase of market and technological maturity, with similar levels of hype. 

In this episode, Shayle talks to Raffi Garabedian, the former CTO of pioneering solar manufacturer First Solar and now the co-founder and CEO of Electric Hydrogen Co. (Disclosure: Shayle just led Energy Impact Partners’ investment in the company).

First Solar was one of the very few Western companies that survived the price pressure, commoditization and trade dynamics in the solar industry during its early growth phase. How did First Solar do it? And what does that tell us about surviving the heady-but-volatile hydrogen space?

Shayle and Raffi dig into that history, covering First Solar’s bet on mass-producible cadmium telluride technology, as well as the risky step of retooling manufacturing.

They also cover the parallels to hydrogen: How does a novel technology compete against dominant incumbents? How does that technology navigate the boom-and-bust cycles of an emerging market? How can an executive team pick the most useful metric for its creative teams? 

The Interchange is brought to you by Hitachi ABB Power Grids. Are you building a renewable plant? Looking for a battery energy storage system? Thinking about how to integrate renewables to your grid? Hitachi ABB Power Grids is your choice. 

The Interchange is brought to you by LONGi Solar, the world’s leading solar technology company. A global market leader, LONGi has unmatched bankability, quality and performance validated by third-party laboratories, and has breakthrough innovation at both the wafer and module level.