Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hubbert's Sneak

Hubbert peak theory is the prediction/observation that petroleum production will follow a bell-shaped curve. Photoelectric growth will follow a bell-curve too - a sneaky curve. See graph...

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The graph describes how the photoelectric market will evolve. We should see this trend in Germany first. DISCLAIMER: The curve will not be smooth but the stages of growth should be observable.

Stage 1. Healthy growth until market saturation.
Stage 2. Deceleration until equilibrium.
Stage 3. Floating equilibrium

Deceleration is due to a combination of technical and market factors. We can expect the competitive economics of PE to become less favorable in time due to an increasingly less attractive stock of potential sites and falling incentives in the case of FiT countries. There is only so much PE the current grid can handle and this will eventually slow growth if the mitigation of instabilities can't keep pace. A third factor has to do with global demand for PE which will eventually make other markets more economically attractive and halt the decline of local PE prices which fueled the healthy growth stage.

Equilibrium is a combination of trends.

1. Improving economics on the system side should be pulling the market back towards growth.
2. Improved engineering and smart operating strategies should mitigate grid instability issues association with PE.
3. You'll naturally reach a balance point between the rate at which modules are getting retired and rehired.

The floating equilibrium stage is due to more of 2 & 3.

This curve describes localized markets only. I'd expect the world market perspective to smear out most of these details. The world market would have a longterm equilibrium of course but this is too far away to be interesting.

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