Offshore Wind Energy has been forecasted from around 3 GW to 75 GW by 2020 as countries in Europe,Asia and North America heavily support this industry.Note onshore wind energy growth has slowed down as 38 GW of Wind Capacity were installed in 2010.Offshore Wind Energy is being subsidized as it has a number of advantages over onshore wind power despite its higher costs.The oppurtunity is so large that South Korea shipbuilders like Samsung,Daewoo and Hyundai are investing heavily in this area.Note Onshore Wind Energy also has many advantages which have overcome the drawbacks to become the biggest green industry.Offshore Wind Power is set to take up the growth baton fro Onshore Wind as Costs are expected to come down as the industry and technology matures and more Wind Turbine Companies gain experience in this area.Note USA has 4000 GW of Offshore Wind Capacity which is enough to meet the entire electricity need of the biggest power consumption country in the world.

Offshore Wind Parks which are clusters of giant offshore Wind Turbines built near the coast in the middle of the water have become the fastest growing segment of the Wind Power Industry.The list of of offshore wind farms are increasing as government heavily subsidize and support Offshore Wind Energy.Just like Electric Vehicles,offshore wind farms though not economic today will help immensely in the fight against Climate Change in the future.Though the costs of offshore wind parks are much higher today,they will decrease as the installed offshore wind capacity increases from around 3 GW today to around 100 GW which is being targeted globally.Note every industry sees costs declining with large capacity except the mature industries.For example a rule of thumb for solar power costs are that they decline by around 20% for every 100% increase in installed capacity.Offshore Wind Power today suffers from higher costs as the industry and the ancillary infrastructure is not well devloped.However as companies gain experience and build capacity,the prices will be cut as costs come down and volumes increase.So what is the cost of offshore wind power and what are the cost drivers of this industry.

Offshore Wind Farms are the fastest growing segments in the Wind Energy Industry area boosted by improvements in Wind Technology and subsidies by the government.Offshore Wind Energy is growing the fasted in the United Kingdom which is surprising considering the poor state of Green Energy there.Europeans are leading the way in offshore wind energy given their massive strengths in Wind Technology.However other major Wind Turbine Companies are also developing their capabilities by spending millions of dollars on offshore wind turbine R&D.Offshore Wind Farms have also come in for criticism because of their higher costs and the longer time to install them.Note offshore wind projects offer even more Wind Energy Advantages than normal Land Based Wind Farms.The only problem facing offshore wind power is high costs as the industry still is on the learning curve with only 1.5% of the world’s total installed wind capacity coming from offshore wind farms.

Silicon for Solar Cells that are used to make the normal crystalline solar panels is known as Polysilicon.This is a highly purified form of the Silicon Metal that is mined.Note Polysilicon is made through chemical processes which help in purifying the raw silicon and removing the impurities.The Silicon that is used to make Silicon Cells is also used to make semiconductor wafers which is the raw material for the Electronic Industry.Solar Cells require slightly lower purity of 6N compared to the higher 9N required by the Semiconductor Industry.Once Polysilicon is produced it has to be made into flat wafers which require further industrial processes like pouring the metal in crucible to make ingots and then cutting the ingots by wiresaws to make solar wafers.The solar wafers are then converted into solar cells by processes like diffusion,etching etc.

A lot of confusion exists about solar cells efficiency about which technology results in how much efficiency and the difference between solar cells and the solar panels efficiency.Note the biggest differentiator of a solar cell besides its cost is its efficiency.Not only do different materials give different efficiencies,even different companies have conversion efficiencies which differ for the same technology.Silicon Solar Cell Efficiency also depends on the purity of the solar wafer which is used as raw material to print solar cells besides whether it is monocrystalline or multicrystalline solar cells.With most of the low lying fruit already gathered in respect to lowering cost of the silicon solar cells,most of the big Chinese solar companies are concentrating their efforts in improving the efficiency in order to cut down costs in the cutthroat solar industry where the stars of yesterday are fighting to stay alive (Energy Conversion Devices,Evergreen Solar).This rising tide of the solar industry in 2010 has not been able to revive the fortune of some companies though European companies have made enough to fight another day.Solar Cells Efficiencies also differ in the champion cells tested in labs like NREL and on commercial lines.But here is a general range of efficiency of different types of solar cells made from different technologies

Solar Cell Efficiency Improvement is the best way to reduce the costs of solar power and reach grid parity in most places in the world.Solar Cell Efficiencies have improved continuously and with a number of companies and startups investing billions of dollars in research,it will keep improving.However cost considerations are an important factor as well and the technology which balances the two will win the solar energy race

America currently has a massive number number of startups in the clean energy industry and a lot of them in the fastest growing green industry that is the solar sector.However like startups in all industries a lot of them will fail,some will sell themselves to others like Heliovolt,Ausra while a few will make it really big making a fortune through IPOs for their PE investors and owners.One or two will make fortunes for those who invest early as well like First Solar.Note First Solar despite numerous ups and downs is still up more than 450% from its IPO price five years ago.It won’t be the last either.So despite the strong competition in the solar industry where numerous companies and technologies are jostling in the more than $70 billion global market,one or two of the smart ones will become huge winners like Intel or Microsoft.So which are the solar startups which are showing the most promise.Four of them are currently leading the pack while a few others have got a reasonable chance of success as well though they need to prove more like Stion and Miasole.Some of the more hyped ones like Solyndra have gone on a slimming down mode and might make a comeback though it will be tough.There are some others in stealth mode which may become big also.But here is the list of the Four Best Solar Startups in the Solar Electronics,Solar Panels and Solar Thermal Sectors.