Income Inequality is a Theme that is getting played across the world in developing as well as developed nations.Most of the turmoil in 2011 in the Middle East and the Occupy Wall Street Movement can be attributed to the growing Income Gap between the Have and Have -Nots.The Great Recession in 2008 can also be looked upon as a fallout of this.Gini’s Coefficient which measures the income distribution gap has shown continued deterioration all over the world.The Middle Class is shrinking and growing poor by the day and it is not only the Poor Class that is getting affected.
The Chinese solar panel producers too are facing tough times with many companies running at low utilizations and almost everybody running losses.Some companies with huge debt burdens like LDK are running because of government largesse as they are effectively insolvent for all purposes.Expect more bankrutpcies in the coming year .It will take a very foolish or a very brave company to expand solar capacity this year.
Only USA Solar Installers are having a good time with below cost solar panels availabe increasing the returns and leading to massive increased.It looks like 2012 will be a good year for US solar installers who are expanding rapidly to take advantage of the falling solar module prices.Even Buffett is going all into solar development space acquiring billion dollar project in a classical case of vulture investing.
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.
Huge Solar Panel Projects are being planned in the USA by solar developers and utilities as solar panel prices have fallen by 20-30% in the second quarter of 2011 as solar panel manufacturers are faced with oversupply and inventory issues.Note building both coal and nuclear power plants in the US has become increasingly difficult with pollution and climate change issues coming to the fore.While natural gas is getting a boost due to cheap shale gas discoveries,solar energy is picking up pace due to the government support in the form of DOE Loan guarantees and Treasury Grant programs like 1705.Recently two very large solar panel projects have been announced or are in the process over the next 3-4 years.
Electronic Waste is a massive problem in the Developed and Developing world with Thousands of Tons of Hazardous Electronic Waste being generated each year.With Electronics getting more ubiquitous and costs falling rapidly,Electronic Waste Problem is only going to increase.E-Waste is responsible not only for releasing dangerous substances into the environment it also causes deaths and injuries to poor in countries like India,China and Africa who are forced to work in extremely bad conditions.Electronic Waste Recycling is the need of the hour but the governments around the world have not pushed hard enough.Europe has been at the forefront with the WEEE directive passed in 2002 while USA has been a laggard as usual failing to prevent toxic waste from being dumped in landfills and shipped to poor countries with lax environmental regulations.Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 has been passed in California which again as usual has been leading the federal government on clean technology legislation.
Mongolia has been chosen by the two countries to open a nuclear wastes storage site for their companies radioactive waste.GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse are two of the three largest nuclear equipment suppliers in the world and have big plans to export billions of dollars of reactors to emerging markets.These will generate huge levels of waste which would need disposing of.Mongolia is a convenient dumping ground as it a developing country with lax environmental laws.The country has big plans for uranium extraction and building on nuclear power plants as well.Another case of dumping of toxic waste on developing countries by developed countries.Note the citizens of Japan and USA have made life difficult for those wanting to construct permanent nuclear waste storage facilities.Having failed to dump dangerous waste near their citizens,the government of these countries plan to dump the radioactive waste on poor citizens of Mongolia.