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Interesting times
well known curse suggests you live in interesting times and 2009 proved why
interesting times can indeed be a challenge. Eighteen months ago it appeared that
the potential growth rates for the industry could be as high as it wanted to go but a number of
sobering realities crept in and has put the industry back on a slower but more realistic track.
One of the key drivers of the industry is subsidies and governments around the world are
assessing and re-evaluating how much they can afford to invest in solar based energies. There
is no lack of desire to introduce more sustainable energy sources, only confusion as to what
are the best options and what is the best way to spend a diminishing amount of cash.
Standards and Poor have provded an overview for the solar industry as to what are the key factors for analysts when
rating a company or industry. They rightly point out that the subsidies provided means the industry is likely to be
rated lower than other industries at a comparable time. They also point out that the sheer number of new players
entering the industry in hope of a gold rush means there will be intense consolidation, acquisition and failure over
the next two years. Analysts will therefore rate companies based on these factors which impact on every company,
big or small. Markets are reticent to show unconditional support to an industry full of start ups. This does suggest
that companies need to start positioning themsleves to be at least in the top three of their chosen expertise if they
have any chance to succeed in the long term. The semiconductor industry is an excellent comparison as it went
through similar processes before settling to its current phase of unsurety.
World leaders are in Copenhagen as I write this discussing energy and resources, hoping to come to decisions that
will help the world and directly impact the PV related industries. Although the signs are poor for a complete global
solution and process, there is no doubt the solar industry will benefit from the outcome providing another cause for
industry growth. Enjoy the next 18 months of heady growth, success and failure in equal measure and remember
you need to let potential clients know what you can do now. Not what you have been good at.
Have a wonderful 2010
David Ridsdale
Issue VI 2009
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