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A silver lining to the solar crisis is that the fall in panel prices should enable the sector to...

A silver lining to the solar crisis is that the fall in panel prices should enable the sector to compete without government subsidies, writes Liam Denning in the WSJ. However, it won't necessarily be the pioneers that benefit, but companies such as GE with the "scale to compete on price and absorb the inevitable cyclical losses."
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Comments (7)
  • maudie
    , contributor
    Comments (480) | Send Message
    Boy this is hard logic to follow. Silly me, I thought solar panels have fallen bc of China. W/o China, prices go up. Do taxpayers fund the higher prices? I guess there's no limit to our largesse, (unlike Spain). Will GE compete by manufacturing in China, or tariffs? Don't higher prices lead to less demand. I'm getting dizzy.
    9 Apr 2012, 01:20 PM Reply Like
  • TwistTie
    , contributor
    Comments (2476) | Send Message
    You have to think of solar panels as a commodity for this to make sense.


    Lower price = higher demand/usage (for solar installations)


    Subsidies (tax credits I assume) are not required.


    GE can suffer short term losses, gain market share and hope for higher prices and profitability down the line.


    It seems reasonable to me.


    This is one of the reasons that I bought GE.


    GE also has the technology necessary for us to switch to natural gas power plants.
    9 Apr 2012, 01:45 PM Reply Like
  • jbde
    , contributor
    Comments (667) | Send Message
    No, GE becomes a financier.
    Under that moniker, it becomes the largest 'solar' company.


    They finance the land, equipment and installation.
    The utilities or private investors then own/operate the farms.


    It's all about financing the installations with c-si modules becoming the winner over thinfilm and the gimmicks like Solyndra.


    Even 'new' reel-to-reel CIGS 'ink' printing envisioned by Nanosolar is losing its economics.
    9 Apr 2012, 01:48 PM Reply Like
  • Humble Value Miner
    , contributor
    Comments (433) | Send Message
    at current prices, GE doesn't need to build plants, actually this would be money wasting as it costs less to buy FSLR, SPWR, etc. as they are trading under book (and you get plants that are already tested and properly running.... )
    9 Apr 2012, 04:37 PM Reply Like
  • sunspotinMars
    , contributor
    Comments (20) | Send Message
    SPWR is taken..ThinFilm is a losing tech. Maybe they have plenty of Chinese ones to pick from.
    10 Apr 2012, 12:40 AM Reply Like
  • Basque
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    I'm going for Trina Solar & Yingli Green Energy.
    9 Apr 2012, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2669) | Send Message
    Based on the price of electricity and natural gas in the US, solar is only profitable with power purchase agreements from the utilities that allow the solar farms to sell power into the grid at 4-6 times higher than market rates over 20-30 years. Those higher prices are paid by the consumer, while the financiers of the plant are the ones who earn nice returns. The rate payer and tax payer get hit.


    As far as the manufactures of the panels, less demand and more competition mean stay away.
    9 Apr 2012, 11:23 PM Reply Like
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