FT : Solar Boom

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Higher demand for solar energy, triggered by concerns about global warming, will drive a fourfold increase in the annual revenues of the global solar equipment industry from $20bn last year to $90bn in 2010, according to projections published today.  Profit growth is expected to accelerate even faster, as costs are contained, pushing margins up to nearly 60%

Solar Growth
(click on thumbnail for larger graphic)

The interest manifested by many electricity customers in solar cells as a “green” alternative to fossil fuels is also likely to spur a tenfold surge by 2015 in production of high-purity silicon required for the cells, according to the report by Photon Consulting, a German research group.  Demand for the silicon needed for solar cells is likely to rise from 41,000 tonnes last year to 120,000 tonnes in 2010, and 400,000 tonnes in 2015, the report says.  The price of this silicon, due to scarcity, has rocketed to as much as $300,000 a tonne.  But Michael Rogol, Photon’s managing director, said falling costs overall made solar power increasingly competitive and propelled its growth.  “We are seeing incremental changes in innovation which are pushing down costs and helping the sector’s expansion,” Mr Rogol said…..Solar installations are expected to provide 15GW of electricity in 2010, against 2.7GW last year; only a tiny fraction of total world electricity generation capacity.  But Photon reckons by 2015 solar electricity could account for 7.6% of electricity consumption in homes in the world’s 30 or so richest countries.

Reference : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/edfdbbf0-e248-11db-af9e-000b5df10621.html

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