The Skunk at the Solar Lawn Party

Bloomberg New Energy Finance held a workshop presentation of its Q2:2012 outlook for photovoltaic panels that has attracted a lot of attention.  The story of about the story at this presentation became itself a story in Forbes when the workshop slides were leaked to Forbes by BNEF who then complained when Forbes used them.  DUH! Read more about The Skunk at the Solar Lawn Party[…]

Trade Fights and Politics

It was no surprise that China responded to the US decision to impose countervailing tariff duties on sale of imported photovoltaic panels from China.  We expected more of a tit for tat action sticking it to some US interest in China in roughly equal proportion to the insult of the duties imposed by the US.  Read more about Trade Fights and Politics[…]

Will National Energy Policy ‘Evolve’ to a Clean Energy Standard?

Clean energy is something everyone is ‘for’.  Few people are in favor of dirty energy.  But the problem is the definition of what is clean depends upon who you ask.  We will say we are in favor of clean renewable energy, when polled, until a wind producer tries to site a wind turbine near us, Read more about Will National Energy Policy ‘Evolve’ to a Clean Energy Standard?[…]

Low Prices Always Low Prices

Low prices always low prices is the slogan taken by China’s wind and solar PV panel manufacturers.  It describes their global market strategy of flooding the market with equipment, driving down prices as a result of that glut and suctioning up feed in tariffs and other subsidies to help finance China’s export production growth.  For Read more about Low Prices Always Low Prices[…]

Subsidizing Commodities Never Makes Sense

This is the second in a series of posts about the unintended consequences of renewable energy subsidies and rules in competitive falling price markets. In the previous post I reviewed the unintended consequences of Germany’s generous above market prices feed in tariff subsidy in a fall global PV price market. The result was that German Read more about Subsidizing Commodities Never Makes Sense[…]

Global Lessons from Germany’s Solar Boom and Bust Market

Germany’s solar market has been red hot.  So hot, in fact, installations of PV panels in 2011 totaled a record 7.4 GW out of 28 GW installed worldwide according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Worldwide solar installations rose 50% in 2011 on falling PV prices caused by overproduction for exports in China.  But that red Read more about Global Lessons from Germany’s Solar Boom and Bust Market[…]

Signing Long Term Solar Power Contracts in a Falling Price Market

“The PPA unnecessarily saddles ratepayers with extraordinary above-market costs — $1.25 billion. We could probably get almost 500 megawatts of renewable energy for the price we’re paying for this 250 megawatts.”—CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio. That was the essence of Commissioner Florio’s pique in voting no on the approval of a purchase power agreement between PG&E Read more about Signing Long Term Solar Power Contracts in a Falling Price Market[…]

Spending Like There Will Be No Tomorrow

The US Department of Energy Loan Program Office (LPO) is quite proud of its work. When you go to the Our Projects page it explains that “LPO is one of the largest and most productive energy project finance operations in the world and has committed over $30 billion to support 42 clean energy projects.  These Read more about Spending Like There Will Be No Tomorrow[…]

Which Way Will Solar Energy Go?

Life in the solar energy business is a constant battle between soaring aspirations for long term growth juxtaposed against the terrifying reality of falling prices and global competition.  Selling more might actually mean your solar energy business will just lose more money faster. There is, of course, more than one solar energy business.  There is Read more about Which Way Will Solar Energy Go?[…]

From Solar Energy Torment to Distributed Energy Transformation

In Solar Energy Tough Love I confess I ranted about the perverse impacts of government industrial policy on the solar energy sector in its vainglorious attempt to choose winners and losers.  That policy is failing. The market gods hate to be trifled with and they respond with thunderbolts and torment.  This will continue until grid Read more about From Solar Energy Torment to Distributed Energy Transformation[…]