Just returning from Solar Power Conference 2006 at San Jose this week. The industry is indeed changing..how?
1. Supply is ramping up so quickly that some are facing inventory build-ups mostly because the program uptake in the supply chain can’t keep up. For more regarding the siicon shortage, read Neal Dikeman’s blog entry of this week.
2. Thin films are not only here to stay but also about to compete on the thick film’s backyard with better efficiencies than ever before yet with continued lower costs.
3. The supply contracts that were signed last year with long terms and market adjustment clauses, will see market adjustments without question in 2007.
4. Consolidation is coming. This is an industry which is maturing. Small players will be left to niche markets or face extinction. Eventually they will either have to join up or be squashed. There are too many “solar microchip makers” who don’t have gigawatts in sight.
5. A bubble burst in valuations won’t continue for much longer as bandwidth and the extensive Spanish and Italian programs begin an uptake in production that will temper the downturn and not permit it to be as drastic as the early 2000’s.
6. Going public at this time for ICP Solar was one the best things we could have done. Suddenly people are talking to us in a totaly different manner and with enthusiasm. Amazing what an IPO will do! Money follows money. Specially when its smart money.
7. It’s going to be about two models: distinction or commodity. The low cost producers will win the latter. The high value deliverers will occupy the former. There will be little room for anything else.
8. China and India are coming on strong. China is already becoming the low cost producer in the value chain. India is providing lamination services, just like it does in the IT sector.
9. The US market will be exploding with California leading the way. This was the best attended american show in history and almost rivaled its European counterpart in attendance, although not quite in size.
That’s all my I can think of for now. If more comes to mind, I’ll add more later.