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Old 26-11-2011, 10:00   #1
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Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

Just a heads up. I read an interesting article on the current situation in the solar panel industry and it seems rather bleak. Over investing and a fitful consumer response has made four quarters of no profit in the industry. It may be headed for a thinning of the herd and future panels will be more expensive. Currently the panels are selling below cost just to get them out there. Perhaps for those sitting on the fence, this is the time to buy. Just a thought. In a forum as big as this one, probably someone has more insight than I do on this. I will be looking hard this fall and doing the research to see what I need...
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Old 26-11-2011, 10:07   #2
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in collapse

Links?
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Old 26-11-2011, 10:18   #3
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in collapse

I really doubt panels are selling below costs. The major namebrands are highly overpriced from what I've gathered. Panels shouldn't be more than a $1 a watt at this point in the game. They are preventing 'normal' people from going solar, and shooting themselves in the foot in the process. Rich people only get solar because 'green' is fashionable (I know thats a sweeping generalization, but you get the point), lower income folks are the ones who really need it, but nobody can afford it. Even the upper middle class (in the US) can't seem to find any financial benefit, and the whole 'green' thing is not worth the money for most of them, They are happy enough just paying their $400 a month electric bills and pretending 'green' is a fashion statement for rich people . Businesses should be buying them up too, but they're too afraid to lose their vacations and bonuses on such an expensive investment with no real monitary return.

The solar industry has focused their marketing on the ecological benefits. It's time for them to create some type of financial benefits to sell, since the whole country is controlled, influenced, and motivated, by money alone.
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Old 26-11-2011, 10:20   #4
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in collapse

Possibly, a less dramatic assesment

Production Cutbacks Insufficient to Prevent Solar Module Inventory Buildup | Solarbuzz
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Old 26-11-2011, 10:34   #5
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in collapse

It is basic overproduction causing there to be far more supply than demand pushing the prices down. Microeconomics 101.

Solar cells need to come down in price on a kilowatt-hour per dollar basis compared to our usual sources for electricity for solar power to become cost effective.

Does anyone know how close they are to this?

I wouldn't mind having a bunch of them up on the roof of my house one day if they can pay for themselves over a reasonable period of time. 17 to 22 years is just too long. 7-10 years would probably make it more worthwhile. 5 years, definitely. Just looking at it from a pure economic perspective and not an environmental perspective, which also matters.
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Old 26-11-2011, 12:21   #6
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in collapse

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It is basic overproduction causing there to be far more supply than demand pushing the prices down.
Exactly. Meaning that right now the thing to do is probably to wait for prices to come down some more. Just don't wait too long. How will you know that you waited too long? Prices will be going back up!
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Old 26-11-2011, 12:33   #7
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

It seems that efficiency per unit area of panel is going up as better manufacturing processes are developed. And other processes are creating lower efficiency panels very cheap per watt -- the panels they say can be printed almost like inkjet printing.

As JP Morgan said about the stock market, "it will fluctuate," but I think the longterm trend for solar power is toward better and cheaper. I hope we see it it really leap forward in our lifetimes. . . .
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Old 26-11-2011, 15:52   #8
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

Hope the link works:
Chinese Solar Industry Goes Belly Up | Via Meadia
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Old 26-11-2011, 21:14   #9
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

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Seems unlikely that the Chinese, with $Billions in US Treasury Bonds to cover their costs, are going to stop subsidizing their solar industry any time before the US solar industry is totally destroyed. When they have elminated the competition, the Chinese will get their investment back.
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Old 26-11-2011, 21:44   #10
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

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Seems unlikely that the Chinese, with $Billions in US Treasury Bonds to cover their costs, are going to stop subsidizing their solar industry any time before the US solar industry is totally destroyed. When they have elminated the competition, the Chinese will get their investment back.
I was gonna make a similar comment but couldn't find the words...

the first link in this thread says the Chinese solar industry is still running at 100% production, and possibly growing. The second link, which is just some commentary, links to a bloomberg report that says the top 3 Chinese cell manufacturers are reducing inventory and slashing prices in order to keep up with the flooded industry (too many solar solar companies in China to keep the prices up).

To me, this means that the TOP companies, both in the west and east, are complaining about the little guys out selling them. Instead of reducing costs and prices, they are reducing inventory and production. Then they go and tell the media that the market is in the slumps, when infact, it's only their own buisiness that's having problems, not the entire market.

Seems like typical $bigbusiness market manipulation to me. I wouldn't trust any of these reports... 'the people' want solar technology, they just can't afford it yet. It doesn't pay off, but it still makes sense in the long run. The big companies want to make next quarter profits, not 10 years from now profits... Maybe they should start making solar panels with extemely cheap materials, that they know won't last more than a year or two. Then they could sell more next year and repeat the cycle. Walmart style solar, it's what the big companies want, but it's not what solar is about.
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Old 26-11-2011, 22:27   #11
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in collapse

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
It is basic overproduction causing there to be far more supply than demand pushing the prices down. Microeconomics 101.

Solar cells need to come down in price on a kilowatt-hour per dollar basis compared to our usual sources for electricity for solar power to become cost effective.

Does anyone know how close they are to this?

I wouldn't mind having a bunch of them up on the roof of my house one day if they can pay for themselves over a reasonable period of time. 17 to 22 years is just too long. 7-10 years would probably make it more worthwhile. 5 years, definitely. Just looking at it from a pure economic perspective and not an environmental perspective, which also matters.
Your'e already there if you just move to Kauai, where power from the grid (diesel) costs 45 cents per kwh, the tax rebates total 50%, and the sun is a lot higher in the sky.
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:30   #12
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

It’s a repeat of the disc drive industry in the mid 90s. “We only need 10% market share”, said them all. Trouble is there were 100 players each going for 10%. Not enough pie to go around.

Next up…… wind generation manufacturers.

Next big backlash….. electric cars. See what happens to a Lithium Ion battery when you wreck the car.

This green stuff is not as easy as it sounds folks. But when I’m making 10 knots on a beam reach with nothing but the wind I’m in green heaven!
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:46   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe

Your'e already there if you just move to Kauai, where power from the grid (diesel) costs 45 cents per kwh, the tax rebates total 50%, and the sun is a lot higher in the sky.
Or the USVI. Nearly the same with electricity at .42/kwh with the same %50 rebates.
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:40   #14
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

Doesn't seem to be a collapsing industry to me. Yes, the profits are down slightly, this year over last, but still looks pretty healthy. Just search "solar industry news" instead of believing all that other nonsense bull.

Solar Energy News
Industry News | Solarbuzz
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:46   #15
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Re: Solar Panel Industry in Collapse

I've been recieving solar industry trade publications for 3 years now.

The biggest concern the industry has is that the tax-funded incentives are dissipating, and that solar now needs to start competing in the real world.

Don't you just love when government gets involved in building demand, and then when times change, they are instrumental in destroying that same demand?

Just as in any industry, there will be some corrections. And yes, China raises its head again, as the American manufacturers will now have trouble competing (nothing new there!).

The saving grace is that the new flat and flexible panels will soon outpace the traditional ones, who are struggling to get more efficient in order to compete.

"Shall you live in interesting times" - Confucius
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