Solar Industry sees some Positive Light The recent news flow in the solar industry has started taking a positive slant with increasing panel prices and resurgent demand from new areas like China and Japan. Quarterly results have started surprising on the positive side, though many companies continue to accumulate losses. Some stock like First Solar [...]

Sunpower (SPWR) which is the 2nd largest US solar company after First Solar (FSLR) was the first major company to report 4Q12 results. As expected the company was in the red, however the quantum of losses were much more than what analysts were expecting. The company in its defence said that it had 1 GW [...]

Solarcity which is the largest US Solar Installer has got sued by Sunpower for stealing trade secrets. Note Sunpower which was recently bought by French Oil Giant Total is facing tough times. Sunpower which makes the most efficient solar panels in the world is facing tough competition from super cheap Chinese solar panels. In fact according to Total CEO the company would have been already bankrupt with Total support. Beside making solar panels, Sunpower is also one of the biggest solar integrators and developers. The company has been in the business of installing solar panels after it acquired solar system installer Powerlight.

Solar Shingles are niche solar products meant for use on roofs of houses.There are not a lot of manufacturers of solar shingles as they are a new product and more difficult to install than standard silicon solar panels.Solar Shingles are manufactured by mainly American companies like Dow,Energy Conversion Devices.Their high costs and lack of easy availability has meant that solar shingles have not really caught the imagination of the customers.Also Solar Shingles do not get any added subsidy from the government vis a vis Solar Panels.Thus the higher prices of electricity generated from solar shingles means that they have become a poorer cousin of the mainstream Solar Panels.Also Solar Integrators are more accustomed to buying and installing solar panels which makes it even more difficult to push the sale of solar shingles.

Solar Panels are sold by hundreds of companies around the world ranging from small to very large and comes in various shapes and sizes as well.Besides this solar panels are also made of very different materials for example silicon solar panels and thin film solar panels.So comparing solar panels and choosing a solar panel is a very difficult process if you want the best solar panel according to your need.The most efficiency solar panels are needed in cases where the land area or rooftop area is at a premium.Note a typical 200-250 watt solar panel requires an area of 60×38 inches which means an area of around 2000 square inches.1 megawatt of solar panels would require an area of between 5-10 acres of land depending on the efficiency of the solar panels.However this can be reduced by using solar trackers which can increase the output of solar panels though they to increase the area requirement slightly.Also the area also depends on the location of the place since a place recieving high sunlight for example California would require lesser area for generating the same amount of electricity compared to London (upto 30% fewer solar panels).Note solar panels with higher efficiency have a higher price tag associated with them since they require higher cost to manufacture.The most efficiency solar panels which are used in spacecraft and have a efficiency of around 35-40% may cost upto 100 times more than the normal silicon solar panel.

Solar Panel Manufacturers in USA are facing a torrid time from the falling prices of Chinese solar panels.This has caused the bankruptcies of some big solar panel companies in recent times like Solyndra,Spectrawatt and Evergreen Solar.Only those solar panel companies with the lowest cost and good quality will manage to survive the price war in solar panels that is currently on.Most companies are running losses as the prices of solar panels have decreased by 40% in 6 months.This would cause any industry to see massive bankruptcies and this is the case with the solar panel industry as well.Note Solar Industry is a new one with rapid technology and cost changes which makes startups with bad business models go bust.This is a natural effect of capitalism and nothing to be afraid of .However you have to be careful of which solar panel manufacturer to buy from as your 25 year solar panel warranty will become useless if the solar panel manufacturer from which you brought the solar panel goes out of business.On the Bright Side the sharply declining costs of solar has made it the biggest advantage of using solar power.