Solar has started to come to the forefront around the globe in recent years. I believe that at this time in the middle of 2011 is the beginning of the solar energy age. 2010 was a great year for solar, growing at a worldwide pace of 139% installed from the previous year but solar still only accounted for less than or around 1% if the worlds energy source.
With growth like that there are going to be growing pains. Those pains are a good thing and here's why: The cost of solar panels per watt has steadily been decreasing at a record pace as increased competition has forced prices down on panels. Grid parity has been achieved in certain areas of the world where fuel costs are high. There is increasing pressure to bring costs down on inverters and other parts which are used as part of a complete system for solar energy.
As a whole sector the margin of profits were mostly lower in the first quarter of 2011 than they were in 2010. The strong companies able to adapt to the new lower pricing while still able to provide quality are the ones that are going to be the real winners in the coming solar energy age.
As far as countries paving the polysilicon solar path, Japan accounted for about 50% of the worldwide solar industry in 2004. Then Germany took the lead in 2005-2006, China now has the lead at about 59% of worldwide solar makers as of 2010.
I believe in the good old fashioned solar cells made from silicon, the same solar cells I have in the calculator sitting on my desk that I've owned for 15 years of trouble free service. I've never had to buy a battery for it either, it doesn't have one.
Silicon is the same stuff that has been working great in computer chips for many years, it is a naturally ocurring element. Silicon is the second most abundant element after oxygen, making up about 25%+ of the earths crust by mass.
Why aren't there solar panels on every roof? The initial price of the installed system. It's expensive to get started without the cash or financing. As systems get cheaper solar is getting more and more attractive every day. In some areas building owners are being approached by companies that will fix the roof of their building, install and maintain the solar panels with a 20 year lease to buy the electric from them at a set rate lower than the normal electric bill and no cash outlay to the owner of the building. How's that for creative? The owner of the building is getting solar panels on the roof, saving money every month on the cost of electric, and it doesn't cost a dime out of pocket as well as doing something good for the environment.
Another thing I really like about polysilicon photovoltaic solar cells is there are no moving parts to wear out or make noise and they are not toxic like thin film CIGS.
Solar seems like the perfect answer to all of the worlds energy needs. I am "Pounding the Table" for the case of solar energy and the time to get started investing in the sector is now. My money is on the biggest of the best Chinese Solar companies JASO and STP.
A couple of helpful reports
Disclosure: I am long JASO.
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