Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stick With a Sure Dollar Over Guessing on a Few Cents

Finley Colville is one of the truly brilliant minds in solar. Solarbuzz really lucked out when they picked him up. I suspect he's the one who convinced the site to discontinue the bozo pricing tracker they had that had become a viral source of nasty disinformation. But anyways... Finley wrote an interesting article on PVtech today. He lays out a great story but I don't agree with his thesis at the end.

We should see at least 35 GW of installs in 2012. In 2013 we can expect Japan, China, India and the US to easily add 5 GW and maybe 10 GW above the shrink from markets like Germany/Italy. On top of this goes a possible 5 GW of expansion in markets like South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and ROW. If we jump up to 45 GW of demand and shave off 5 to 10 GW of legacy non-competitive production we're back to a reasonably balanced supply/demand picture.
The g/Watt angle is interesting but we should never force the market to buy on g/Watt if it means lowering demand by upping the real and/or perceived cost of the thing you ultimately want - the electricity. I want to see photoelectric technology improve just as much as the next guy but picking winners based on technology still involves too much guess work. I want to see a technology roadmap as much as Colville but I don't believe we're quite ready for a roadmap. 2013 will see movement towards a rationalization of policy design in Germany and hopefully Italy and Australia. We have to get the rationalization of policy design on track. Once that happens the big money conglomerates will have the transparency they need to jump in and coordinate on a technology roadmap.

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