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PV Solar Power: Are consumer costs close to hitting market tipping point?

PV Solar Power: Are consumer costs close to hitting market tipping point?

Introduction

Solar power is at a crucial point in its development. It has been hanging on to first generation technologies originally discovered in 1954 for many years now. Government incentives have driven market demand to adopt these technologies but their costs of production are reaching a limit. The industry needs to push hard for a step change in production costs to ensure demand continues to rise.

Features and benefits

  • Learn about the current state of the solar power industry from a technological perspective.
  • Explore the photovoltaic manufacturing process and how organizations drive down costs in globalized industries.
  • Obtain an in-depth understanding of the potential for mass adoption of solar power.
Highlights
  • Second generation systems have not been able to penetrate the market as expected, with 92% of 2014 installed capacity still coming from first generation systems. Third generation systems may eventually turn out to have the right mix of efficiency and cost to instigate mass solar power adoption.
  • Marketing within the solar power industry is geared towards demonstrating that relatively large up-front costs can be recouped over a reasonable period. However, the up-front cost is holding back the industry from mass adoption as it will always remain the figure that will really capture consumers’ attention. SolarCity could change this model
  • The drive to lower production costs has come from a combination of factors including cutthroat competition between the United States and China as well as the input of government incentives that have spurred consumer adoption in certain countries, notably in Europe and Japan, thus allowing for increased production volumes.
Your key questions answered
  • How much lower can costs in the solar power industry be driven?
  • Which technologies are most likely to cause a revolution in the industry?
  • What is the effect of government policy on the prospects of a clean energy future?


OVERVIEW
Catalyst
Summary
RESEARCH PROGRESS IN CELLS AND STORAGE
Tough balancing act between efficiency and cost
A long and slow road to commercial success
Cutting edge research aims at holy-grail of efficient and stable, low cost products
Home batteries to become vital factor in solar product mix
Tesla Powerwall provides missing link
Daimler offers similar proposition with Accumotive
THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS
Current costs take many consumers out of market
Each stage of production in battle to reduce costs
Polysilicon and the upstream industry in price war
Solar cell and module production already dominated by Chinese manufacturers
IMPACT OF GOVERNMENTS AND MARKETS
Massive impact of antithetical government policies
Feed-in tariffs and incentives help industry reach viable production volumes
Dumping and import tariffs combine to stifle progress
Sustained demand vital to economies of scale
Global demand is shifting in line with government incentives
Massive market potential hints at upcoming issues with supply
CONCLUSIONS
Riding a knife-edge between success and failure
APPENDIX
Definitions
Sources
Further Reading
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