Post-Brexit the world is not on fire. To learn more about the realities of the new normal, PV Tech publisher Solar Media has convened a cross-channel group of experts overseen by the law firm Eversheds and chaired by veteran energy journalist Terry Macalister. Here, he forms his first view on the mood of the assembled investors, operators and policy experts in the forum.
Despite US solar rapidly transitioning from an alternative energy source into a leading energy solution in recent years, barriers in regulation, communication and technology still prevent the industry from taking off into the mainstream arena, according to a panel of experts at Solar Power International (SPI) 2016.
Growing 43% year over year in 2016, the US solar industry is taking off at a pace no one could have foreseen. Naysayers may cite the industry’s slow start, hampered by high upfront costs and initial niche appeal as reasons why solar still will not experience a consumer boom. But panellists at the opening session of the 13th annual Solar Power International convention made it clear just how solar energy could exceed expectations and is poised for not only growth, but mainstream acceptance.
During the period 2006 to 2011, equipment spending for solar manufacturing was a really big deal for capital equipment suppliers. Companies such as GT Advanced Technologies (then GT Solar) and Applied Materials (serving thin-film and c-Si expansions alike) were clocking up billion-dollar plus backlogs.
With First Solar’s revenue and shipment guidance unchanged and basically locked-in for 2016, despite solar industry dynamics becoming increasingly fluid, filling demand for 3GW of thin-film module capacity in 2017 has become a priority for management as a rather large hole in bookings is proving difficult to fill.