There are only 2 Solar Energy ETFs in the Market right now – TAN and KWT.Note buying solar ETF provides a less risky way of investing in solar energy as some stocks can dramatically underperform in this fast growing industry.However Solar ETFs will on the other hand perform much worse than the best performing stocks in the solar universe.This is because their holdings are also concentrated on some of the lesser quality companies.KWT and TAN are better investments for the less informed and less sophisticated investors.Amongst the 2 ETFs,KWT is the better option than TAN for a number of reasons which are described below.

Solar Thin Film Technology has been growing rapidly despite falling costs of the mainstream Photovoltaic Crystalline Silicon Technology.While a number of Weaker Hands in Thin Film have downed shutters,Thin Film Producers continue to grow and expand.The massive growth potential of Solar Energy makes it possible for both of these PV technologies to flourish.Thin Film Technology unlike c-Si has a number of variants.Amorphous Silicon (a-Si),Copper Indium Gallium Sulphide (CIGs) and Cadmium Tellurium (Cd-Te) are the 3 main types of Thin Film Technology.There are a number of manufacturers of all of these 3 types of Technology.CIGs Technology is said to have the most potential in improving efficiency and competing with c-Si,however Cd-Te is currently the top dog as the world’s biggest solar producer First Solar currently uses this technology.a-Si Technology is not that hot with low efficiencies however Oerlikon and Sharp are pushing ahead with developing this technology.Here is a list of the world’s top Thin Film Companies.

Solar Energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the world and has shown tremendous growth in the last 2-3 years.This has been driven by a more than 50% decline in Solar PV costs which continues to decline further.With further increase in energy prices,Solar Power is becoming closer and closer to retail electricity price.Not only is the price declining,solar power is clean energy a most valuable feature in these days of accelerating climate change.Solar Energy has already reached grid parity in places like Italy and Hawaii and will do so in more places in the coming 2-3 years.The industry is a dynamic one and the list of top solar companies can change quickly.Rapid Technology Change and Fast Declining Costs have pushed out most of the Top 10 companies of 5 years ago and brought in new ones mainly Chinese.Here is a list of the Top Solar Panel Producers in the World.

Moser Bear,the Indian Solar Company was one of the first customers for the now extinct Applied Materials a-Si SunFab Technology.The company had invested in a number of solar technologies quite early on,but has not managed to succeed in a single one much like the Abu Dhabi promoted Masdar.The Jack of all Trades strategy has come undone for both of these companies.While Chinese and some US companies have prospered despite stiff competition,most of the others have sunk.While most of AMAT customers have written off their investment in thin film equipment and factories,Moser Baer has not done so.But from its current action it seems to have given up at least in its thin film ambitions.Moser Bear has contracted for 25 MW of First Solar thin film modules.Note First Solar is the biggest thin film producer of solar panels and a direct competitor to Moser Baer.So it seems that Moser Baer has pretty much abandoned its thin film panels since if it itself does not use its own panels,don’t think a 3rd party would do so.

The US Solar Utility Market has been the preserve of the 2 largest US Solar Module Players Sunpower and First Solar.While other Solar Panel Makers have won small deals,these 2 companies have dominated the US Utility Market so far.Sunpower has been very successful in the commercial,municipal and utility segments winning a huge number of deals even as its residential dominance evaporated.The bigger Chinese solar producers like Trina,Yingli,Suntech had already taken over the residential market in California with their much cheaper prices.Now even the larger utility market is under threat from the low cost companies from Asia.Note upstream producers like LDK and GCL Poly are also targeting the system development market in US through acquisitions and alliances.The 250 MW Sempra Generation solar plant being built in Arizona will source Suntech modules and will be completed by 2013.This is a huge order win by Suntech which is the largest module producer in 2010 and could see other Chinese producers using this as a template to push out Sunpower and First Solar.

France recently halted its solar subsidy program for 3 months for solar installations under 3 kw as it was deluged with a large number of applications.Solar Feed in Tariffs are quite generous for certain type of solar panel installations like BIPV and greenhouses.This combined with rapidly falling solar panel prices primarly due to low cost Chinese manufacturing has made the business extremely lucrative.Note France is not the first country to see a massive flood of solar applications.Spain,Czech,Germany,Australia have faced problems with solar feed in tariff programs mainly because of poor design by slow moving bureaucrats.However most of these countries have never blamed cheap Chinese panel imports for their badly designed programs.Germany which is the undisputed solar market leader did for a while raise the Chinese bogey but it was for a short while.Anyone with a little understanding of the solar industry would know that almost 50% of the value is created in installation which is all done locally.Also most of the polysilicon raw material is made in the West as also most of the equipment used in producing panels in China.