My understanding is that in most places solar is not at grid parity yet. So without subsidies it cannot compete. Some people would argue however, that the "real" cost of carbon based power generation is higher than just the utility bill and these "hidden" costs are an unfair subsidy for oil, coal, and natural gas based power.
Ultimately, solar companies will realize they are in the power business. They are only selling "green" to a government created niche. They must become grid competitive or they will serve these niche markets forever.
The economic model may be distorted due to government subsidiary. What if the company prices the solar cell just over the actual cost minus the subsidy. Although the model can't sustain, it could drive off competition in early stage. Nonetheless, there may be more reasons behind that US based solar cell manufacturers are filing bankruptcy one after another. Leading in next energy technology is crucial to the future of mankind. The future energy is ideally economic sound. If solar cell isn't, what is?
Solar cells the price per watt is not stable because of raw material cost is unstable by a value changing between 100 to 1000%. Mean while few manufactures use certain type of materials to reduce the price to below 1$ per watt. Lot of competition and so to keep upto date the solar companies need to watch for all aspects and move.
With the possible exception of FSLR, there are very few solar companies that can survive without government subsidies. The whole business model is messed up ---- recurrent source of revenue is not great, not a whole lot to service. Then there is the tiny issue that there are dozens upon dozens of solar companies chasing the same non-existent market. This is just the beginning, many more bankruptcies are on the way.
Yes, this shows that companies as Intel can make bad investment; again on the other hand it was a good decision to come out of it when they realized they made a bad investment.
What might be the reasons behind the solar companies filing bankruptcy one after the other? Reduced subsidies from Govt., due to the recent crisis?
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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