Note Solar Panels prices differ widely depending on the technology,power,brand and quality.Thin Film Panels in general cost lower than crystalline silicon panels.Higher Power Panels have a higher price as they generate more electricity.Good Brands also have a higher price tag while cheap imported Chinese panels cost less.Solar Panel prices have decreased by almost 50% in the last 2-3 years and now sell for around Rs 1800-2500 per panel internationally and should fall to around Rs 1000 in the next 3-4 years . However for small installations on house of 1-5 KiloWatts,panels sold by distributors is more expensive and can cost you almost 50% more.Also Solar Panels form only a part of the total Solar System Cost.The total cost of installation,equipment and wiring can cost upto Rs 30,000/Kilowatt.

GE is now looking to dethrone the No.1 Solar Energy Producer First Solar using its all round strengths.GE had invested in a Cadmium Tellurium Startup Prime Solar which is ramping up production.Note Cd-Te is the same technology which is used by First Solar.GE has said that it has managed to attain 15% efficiency on commercial glass.Don’t know how much of it is true since First Solar only manages around 12% efficiency despite around 10 years of dedicated R&D.However if GE can even manage to get near to that level then it would surely give First Solar a run for its money.GE has also tied up with Japanese Solar Frontier to market its CIGs based modules.Note Solar Frontier or Showa Shell is building a massive 900 MW plant in Japan.This would make Frontier Solar one of the biggest Solar Players in the world.GE is offering an integrated solution comprising of modules,inverters,services and other BOS equipment to get a leg up on competition.

With most of the low hanging fruit of polysilicon costs already gone,the industry has to focus on efficiency to cut down on costs.Selective emitters,microinverters,DC-DC optimization and other technologies are already finding takers.A Number of microinverter companies like Tigo,Enphase Energy etc are tying up with global heavyweights like Suntech and Sunpower to increase their penetration and cut costs.National Semiconductor has also tied up with Suntech to integrate its products with Suntech Modules to improve efficiency and reliability.The Balance of Systems costs for Solar Panels and their Performance are not usually paid a lot of attention.But with every cent now making a big difference,these technology could make or break a company in this commoditizing industry.While the value addition and costs of these new products are still subject to market acceptance,its a major change for the industry.This is the next phase in the evolution of the solar energy industry as it looks to additional ways to cut costs and bring solar energy to grid parity.Look for M&A in this space as well since the industry is fragmented with a host of VC backed startups.

Saint Gobain like Semiconductor Giant TSMC is betting on Copper Indium Gallium Selenium (CIGs) Technology rather than the mainstream crystalline silicon technology.CIGs is getting the most significant investments these days compared to other thin film technology.Yesterday Ascent Solar (ASTI) got an IEC certification for its flexible modules which would enable it to target the mainstream rooftop market from niche applications earlier.Miasole has improved the efficiency and costs of it CIGs greatly while Nanosolar can’t be counted out because of its strong backers.Solyndra however remains mostly in the shadows despite around $1 billion in private investment.Stion is another strong contender partnering with TSMC and also thinking of opening a plant in Taiwan on its own as well.Saint Gobain is already a big player in the solar market as it suppliers glass to a lot of solar companies for their modules.Getting into panel manufacturing will further allow it to get a foothold of this new potentially giant industry.Du Pont,Dow Chemicals,Corning all have considerable presence in the solar equipment market as well.

Abu Dhabi has got the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with asset of over $600 Billion.The small emirate which is a part of the larger United Arab Emirates is one of the richest countries in the world due to its Oil Riches.The country had made ambitious Renewable Energy Plans setting up a Fund/Company dedicated to its Green Ambitions called Masdar.The Company has faced a number of reverses as it tried a number of things all at once in a new industry.Its “Jack of All Trades” Strategy has proven to be a failure as it lost/fired a number of top executives.Its Solar Plans have also come up a cropper as Thin Film Technology has faced a lot of reverses in recent times.The Company has tried to change tactics by concentrating now on Solar Thermal Technology partnering with Abengoa and Total in building a CSP plant near Abu Dhabi.With its Renewable Energy Arm facing a number of reverses,its plan for a futuristic,zero carbon Green Masdar City has also been scaled down.

Renewable Energy is Easter Europe has boomed driven by government incentives and subsidies.Many of these countries like Estonia,Bulgaria and Czech are cutting or already have cut generous feed in tariffs paid to Green Energy Investors.While Czech has seen an unprecedented Solar Boom leading to a massive public backlash,Estonia and Bulgaria have seen huge wind energy projects.The Green Energy has boomed in the last 2 years mainly as governments in these countries try to meet the Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020 set by the European Union.These East European countries have been hit hard by these EU directives as the costs have spiralled