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This Little Known Tesla Innovation Is A Game Changer

from  (Business Transformation Leader)

No the game changer is not the 2015 Tesla Model S in the picture above. It’s the white device shaped like a medieval-shield that is blending into the wall behind it. It is a wall-mounted lithium-ion home battery system designed to store energy from rooftop solar panels. It can hold up to 10 kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to power a typical home for about 10 hours. It would enable homes to be powered by solar energy during the day and by battery during the night time.

It’s called Powerwall, and in 5 years it could be a major cash cow for Tesla

When Powerwall was released in April this year, it received largely negative press. The press assessed that Powerwall at the current price point was uneconomic for the average user, who gets fairly cheap electricity from the grid. Tesla took the negative feedback to heart and came back in June with double the specs with no change in the price. In doing this, Tesla raised the bar on price competitiveness in battery storage marketplace to a whole another level.

Correct as the original assessment by the press may have been, it was incomplete. The economics associated with Powerwall may look entirely different in 5 years time than it does today, making it a game changer for Tesla. 3 mega-trends are shaking up how we consume energy today –

1. Storage Battery Prices are Plummeting Exponentially 

The chart above shows a projection that a well- known industry expert made in 2014 regarding the cost of lithium-ion batteries over the next 15 years. Tesla dramatically fast-forwarded this projection by 5 years with the launch of Powerwall in 2015, delivering the rate that was expected in 2020.  Once Tesla’sGigafactory becomes operational next year, the price of a Tesla Powerwall could come down even further to half of what it is today by 2020, which the projection above estimated to happen in 2030!

2. Solar Energy Prices are Dropping Dramatically

The chart above shows the past trend and a future projection made by an MIT professor for solar pricing. If this projections holds, the price of solar energy could come down to one fourth of what it is today by 2020.  This projection does not even include the subsidies and buy-back programs that governments around the world are offering to encourage the use of solar energy, which could further reduce the prices in the future.

3. Public Support for Alternative Energy is Very Strong

The global Ipsos survey above shows that there is a strong support for alternative energy sources across the world. A Pew survey also shows that Millennials and Gen X, who will become the primary decision makers of public and private policy as Boomers retire, display a much higher support towards alternative energy sources in comparison to previous generations. The support is not only strong, but growing, and solar finds the highest favor in surveys.

Bringing it all together

The coming together of these 3 mega-trends – drop in price of storage batteries, drop in price of solar energy, and strong and growing public support for solar energy – indicates that we are on the cusp of a rooftop solar + Powerwall revolution, and there is a good chances it will kick off in California.

California is currently in the process of replacing its electricity pricing structure from usage-based (tiered rates – use more, pay more) with time-of-use (same rate for all – higher during day, lower at night), which will become a default by 2019. This will make this market ripe for Californians to use Tesla Powerwall for day/night arbitrage. Under time-of-use pricing, the gap between on-peak rate and off-peak rate will be substantial enough that Californians could fuel up their Powerwall during the night and drain it during the day to save money.

Californians will flock to get a Powerwall when time-of-use pricing becomes default

Even today, Powerwall is a good deal  because its all-in lifetime cost of 15 cents/ kWH beats the gap between off-peak rate and on-peak rate (20 cents/ kWH). However, with the opening of the Gigafactory, if the all-in cost of a Powerwall were to drop in half  of what it is today, purchasing it would become a no-brainer for Californians. Time-of-use electricity pricing is a rising trend across the world and Tesla is all set to sell a lot of Powerwalls in the coming years.

The real play for Tesla will however come into place by 2020 when the 3 mega-trends merge. If these dramatic price drop trends for solar and battery hold, it is likely that rooftop solar + Powerwall combinations could become highly competitive with the power grid electricity in terms of price. The fact that solar finds incredible public support globally would imply that early adopters for rooftop solar + Powerwall could begin to emerge by 2020. The fact that many of these early adopters might already have a Powerwall, which they were previously using for day/night arbitrage, would only make the transition more sealess.

By the year 2020, rooftop solar + Powerwall could match regular electricity from non-renewable sources in pricing

Having said that, rooftop solar + Powerwall is not the same thing as “off-the-grid”. We are used to flicking the switch and having the lights turn on. Rooftop solar + Powerwall would not always be able to promise that, say during a rainy week, or at least not within reasonable cost constraints. However, it could be possible for residents in sun-rich areas to derive as much as 90% of their annual electricity needs from solar + Powerwall. The power grid could always be there, but as a backup, in case rooftop solar + Powerwall  cannot meet the needs.

The transition from early adopters to early majority could also be incredibly rapid. As more and more people transition to rooftop solar +Powerwall, the prices of grid electricity would rise, pushing even more people to make the transition. Obviously, power companies could also take advantage of this phenomenon by moving towards large scale solar and industrial battery installations themselves, opening up a whole another market for Tesla.

An inexpensive Powerwall will be a force multiplier to a much cheaper solar energy

As solar energy becomes exponentially cheaper with each passing year, inexpensive batteries will add flexibility to the overall energy system. It is a massive disruption waiting to happen over the next 5 to 10 years, and Tesla is already in the box seat. Other competitors may emerge to challenge Tesla’s ascendancy, but the company has a significant first-mover advantage in both scale and technology, not to mention that they have an incredible brand image.

The true beneficiaries of this disruption will obviously be the environment and the future generations. For each house that would move from grid electricity to rooftop solar, we would be able to prevent 25,000 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions, or equivalent of taking 3 cars off the road a year. Rooftop solar + Powerwall is a disruption whose time has come, and as the economics rapidly start working in its favor, it is poised to change the world for the better!

Solar gadgets

Only for fun, a liste of nice gadgets:

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NanoMarkets Predicts Thin-Film Solar Cell Industry Will Produce More than 26 Gigawatts by 2015

According to NanoMarkets, a leading industry analyst firm based here, the thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) market will produce the equivalent of 26 gigawatts (GW) by 2015 and will generate well over $20 billion in revenues in that same time frame. This extraordinary growth rate is due in part to the rapid deployment of photovoltaics of all kinds, but also to the low cost, flexibility and manufacturing advantages associated with TFPV compared with the now dominant crystalline silicon PV. By 2015, NanoMarkets expects that TFPV will account for more than half of the world’s production of PV. NanoMarkets findings are from a soon to be released report, “Thin Film Photovoltaics Markets: 2008 and Beyond” that will be available the week of July 21st. Additional details about the report are available at A companion report that addresses manufacturing issues will follow in August of 2008.

Key findings of the report include:

• The recent success of cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells is likely to continue and by 2015 NanoMarkets expects that this will be the single largest segment of the TFPV market considered by active material with $8.7 billion in revenues.  CdTe has many advantages such as a high optical absorption coefficient and a bandgap that has been described as close to perfect for PV.  Also, many of the environmental concerns that have been associated with CdTe in the past seem to be dissipating. 

• In spite of higher price points and outstanding manufacturing challenges, CIS/CIGS is still the star of the TFPV world.   The technology promises to combine all the advantages of thin film with higher conversion efficiencies approaching those of conventional crystalline PV.  NanoMarkets believes that the CIS/CIGS sector will produce almost $5.0 billion in revenues by 2015.

• Because of its low cost, low weight and ability to be fabricated onto flexible substrates TFPV is likely to be highly preferred for residential applications over conventional PV and by 2015 NanoMarkets expects a $2.3 billion market for the residential TF PV market.

About the Report:

TFPV is one of the fastest growing technologies in the whole alternative energy sector and it is creating opportunities for materials firms, solar panel manufacturers and many others.  This report analyzes and quantifies these opportunities and identifies where the manufacturing and marketing challenges are. The report addresses all of the segments of the TFPV industry and is the latest in the series of PV reports that have been published by NanoMarkets over the past three years.  Coverage includes Amorphous Silicon, CIS/CIGS, CdTe and GaAs.  Applications areas covered include utilities, commercial and industrial buildings, residential buildings, consumer electronics, military and aerospace. The report provides detailed forecasts of TFPV broken out by material, and application and discusses the activities of major firms in the TFPV sector including Applied Materials, EPV, FEE, First Solar, Flexcell, Fuji Electric, Global Solar Energy, HelioVolt, Honda, ISET, JNSOLAR, Kaneka, Miasole, Mitsubishi, Nanosolar, Oerlikon, PowerFilm, Sanyo, Schott, Seiko Epson, Sharp, Shell, Solar Cells, Spectrolab, Sulfurcell, Sunset Energietechnik, Tokyo Ohka Kogyo, Uni-Solar and Wurtz.

About NanoMarkets:

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in electronics created by developments in advanced materials. The firm has published numerous reports related to organic, thin film and printable electronics materials and applications and maintains a blog at that comments on industry trends and events. For a full listing of the firm’s reports and downloadable white papers and report summaries please visit


Robert Nolan

2007 Solar Market outlook

from   Scott Clavenna, President & CEO  of Greentechmedia, a very valuable source of information and market intelligence



France: Saint-Gobain Develops its Presence on the Solar Mirrors Market

28  May  2008

Through its subsidiary La Veneciana de Saint-Gobain, the Flat Glass Sector of Saint-Gobain has decided to extend its presence on the solar mirrors market. The plant extension at Covilis (Portugal) will enable the Group to supply the Iberian Peninsula’s thermo-solar market with parabolic cylindrical mirrors.This roughly EUR20 million capital expenditure project is fully in line with the Group’s solar strategy and will extend the current buildings (designed to produce extra-clear SGG ALBARINO patterned glass for photovoltaic panels) over a 12,000 msquared surface area. With its 19,000 msquared, the Covilis site will become the largest parabolic cylindrical mirrors plant in the world with annual production capacity corresponding to the supply of mirrors for 250 MW solar fields (five 50 MW fields). The plant will employ around 110 people.

The Covilis site was chosen for this major investment on account of the plant’s expertise as a manufacturer of specialized products for the photovoltaic and solar market. In addition, the Portuguese capital’s neighboring port provides maritime access to a number of export markets. With the first contracts already signed totaling tens of millions of euros, shipments will begin in the first half of 2009.

Saint-Gobain and the growth of solar business

Already the leading supplier of high-energy transmitting glass for traditional photovoltaic cells using crystalline silicon, Saint-Gobain is developing a complete product offering. This includes conductive-coated glass for new generation thin-film photovoltaic cells, solar-cells supplied through its joint subsidiary with Shell, flat and now curved mirrors for solar concentrators.

Saint-Gobain has developed curved mirrors for solar concentrators, a product which is particularly weather-resistant and provides installations with excellent long-term performance. Solar concentrators equipped with curved mirrors are very competitive compared with other solar-based energy-producing solutions. Business is expected to grow strongly, especially in southern Europe, the southern United States and in the Middle East.

The Flat Glass sector of Saint-Gobain, the European leader and number two worldwide, manufactures, processes and sells glass products for two main markets: building and transport. In 2007, it reported net sales of EUR5.6 billion. 

Organization name: Saint-Gobain
Country: France

Goldman Forecasts Oversupply Risk In Solar Market


Tuesday October 7th, 2008 / 16h17 

By Steve Gelsi 
NEW YORK (Dow Jones) — Goldman Sachs on Tuesday slapped sell ratings on the two largest publicly traded U.S. solar power firms, with the broker flagging the possibility of oversupply as overseas subsidies dry up in the face of the global economic meltdown. 
Goldman analyst Michael Molnar forecast “strong headwinds for valuation” as he downgraded shares of First Solar (FSLR) to conviction sell from buy and SunPower (SPWRA) to sell from buy. 
Shares of First Solar fell 13.5% to $138.10. SunPower retreated 12% to $58.36. 
“The risk of oversupply in the solar market will soon become a reality as considerably less generous demand subsidies take hold just as a wave of supply and tight financing hit the market,” Molnar said in a note to clients. “We believe that liberal subsidies of the past in markets like Germany and Spain are unlikely to be replicated in the future given fears of their ultimate cost in a bad world economy.” 
As supply continues to come on line in a less favorable subsidy environment, prices will have to come down, putting pressure on profit margins. 
Goldman set a new price target of $103 a share for First Solar, well below its close of $159.71 a share on Monday. 
“(We) see multiples contracting as valuation implies more growth than will come even for one of the best solar companies in the world,” Molnar said. 
SunPower’s new price target is $43 a share, compared to its closing price of $66.34 on Monday. 
“Their installation business may perform well, but we see a consistent drag from the module business given lower industry pricing,” he said. 

Solar market to reach $100 billion in 2013

By Gina Roos
Courtesy of Green SupplyLine (10/02/2008 11:07 AM EDT)

New York, N.Y. — Despite projected oversupply in early 2009, leading to significantly lower average selling prices (ASPs), the global solar market will reach $100.4 billion in 2013, up from $33.4 billion in 2008, according to the latest report from Lux Research.
According to Lux, the solar market is poised for continued impressive growth, with new installations increasing nearly five-fold from 2008 to 2013. However, starting in 2009, supply will exceed demand, leading to price decreases. This change will transform the solar industry, creating a market where sales grow dramatically, but it is increasingly difficult for companies to profit, according to Lux’s report entitled “Solar State of the Market Q3 2008: The Rocky Road to $100 Billion.”

The report also indicates that falling prices will trigger an industry shakeout with the weakest players either being acquired or failing, and remaining solar manufacturers facing margin pressures for years due to a booming supply build-out. Lux also indicates that companies involved in lower cost thin-film technologies will be better positioned to weather the price reductions, and those without differentiated technologies will be at risk.

Key findings show that that driven by aggressive capacity expansion and the increasing availability of polysilicon, the solar market will grow 48% annually through 2013, reaching 23 gigawatts (GW) from 4.9 GW in 2008. In addition, cuts to government subsidies and aggressive ramp schedules will push the market into oversupply in 2009, when 7.9 GW of modules will be installed.

In Europe, the Spanish market will be limited by subsidy caps and the markets in France, Italy and Greece, will be slower to develop than expected. In Germany, which is the largest solar market today, according to Lux, years of strong investment in renewable energy such as solar and wind will push the market closer to the limits of grid infrastructure, which can only handle roughly 20% of intermittent renewable sources. As Germany approaches this cap in the next five years, growth will be limited to an average of 16% annually through 2013, according to the report.

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