Market

Even with less efficient flat plate panels, the solar industry has grown at a compound annual rate of 35% from 2000-2009. Despite the recent global financial crisis, solar installations increased by 73% in 2010, and by 65% in 2011.(1) The industry generated $82 billion in revenues in 2010 and is projected to grow to $100 billion per year by 2014.(2)

Quick Facts:

Solar is the fastest growing industry in the world and is predicted to retain this position for the next 25–50 years.

  1. Total worldwide solar panel installations were 64.5 Gigawatt (GW) in 2011 and are projected to grow to 330 GW in 2020.
  2. The Department of Energy predicts that as the cost per watt of solar systems declines, the levels of market penetration will increase dramatically.

Technology Director

Though this growth rate is impressive, solar power still accounts for less than 1% of total global electricity generation because it is still too expensive.

J. Peter Lynch has been a Wall Street analyst for 33 years. In this article (3), he explains the enormous potential for the market:

How could there be an industry with a product that is too expensive be the fastest growing industry in the world?

This contradiction is a result of the fact that the market is so vast, and that despite the current tremendous industry growth, it is only the beginning of the industry’s long-term growth curve. Incredible as it may sound the industry actually has the potential to grow at 30% per annum rates for decades.

Regardless of this dichotomy, long-term world demand will exceed long term supply (even at current “high” costs) and when future decreases in cost are accomplished the demand will literally soar far beyond the capabilities of current technology.

Unites States Electricity Market

The current U.S. electricity demand is roughly 4 trillion watts (4 Terawatts or TW) and is growing at approximately 2.5% per year. Current projections place demand somewhere between 11 TW and 18 TW by 2050.

To illustrate the tremendous potential of the PV industry and also the current and future demand-supply imbalance facing the industry let’s look at a few macro numbers. For PV to supply only 1% of the U.S. demand in 2010, the worldwide PV production capacity would have to be 44 billion watts, which is over 20 times larger than current worldwide capacity. It is obvious that expanding the total industry capacity 20 fold in a few years is impossible, one thing for sure, we MUST set the bar a lot higher.

Note:

  • Megawatt (MW) = one million watts of electricity
  • Gigawatt (GW) = one thousand megawatts (one billion watts) of electricity
  • Terawatt (TW) = one thousand gigawatts (one trillion watts) of electricity

U.S. Electricity Demand 2010 vs. Current PV Industry Capacity

Technology Director

The above table shows the enormous potential of PV and how large worldwide PV capacity would have to be compared to current industry capacity, for PV to achieve 1%, 5% and 10% of the worldwide electricity market.

At least two points become very clear from the table above:

  1. The potential market for PV worldwide is enormous;
  2. New production technologies will be needed to produce far greater volumes at far lower prices if the industry is ever going to make a significant penetration of this huge market.

Although the price of the panels continues to fall, this variable is only a small component of the total cost of the final solar solution. The cost of acquiring, preparing and managing the land of large solar farms, plus the possible damage from high winds and floods make flat panel solar an expensive solution.

Unless the industry develops a new breakthrough technology that is capable of cost effective electrical energy production, solar will never make a significant contribution to future electricity generation.

The solar market is currently $82 billion a year and growing. The energy market is $5.8 trillion –

Our goal is to get a major share of the energy market by providing a cost effective and more efficient solar solution – The V3 Spin Cell.

Even Bigger…

Because of both population growth and developing markets, it is calculated that worldwide energy use will increase from about fifteen terawatts in 2012 to fifty terawatts in 2050 (a terawatt is one trillion watts). Even if we build a gigawatt nuclear power plant every week for the next 40 years, that would only produce an additional 2.24 terawatts. To keep up with demand, China has been averaging a new coal fired plant every week.(4) So where do we get 35 more terawatts of energy without creating more pollution and destroying more life?

The sun pours down 500 million terawatts every moment of every day. The challenge has been how to cost effectively convert the sun’s abundant waterfall of energy into usable electricity that can serve humanity. V3Solar solves that problem by design.

Like water, humans tend to take the path of least resistance. Fossil fuels are concentrated sunlight. Since they were cheaper than flat panel solar and other renewables, we destroyed our mountaintops, compromised our water supplies, and polluted our air in order to have cheap energy.

Exxon-Mobil is the most profitable company in the world with $30.5B in profits for 2010. Oil companies are in business to maximize profit and provide the best value for their customers. They are not evil. When we prove that solar can be cheaper than fossil fuels, the market will shift. Not because “it is the right thing to do”, but because it finally makes economic sense.

When power is highly concentrated, the potential for disaster increases exponentially. This is true in political systems, like dictatorships, and energy systems, like nuclear power. V3 diversifies the production of energy to the point of consumption and eliminates all risk. If there is a massive solar spill, it is just called a nice day.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller

Emerging Markets:

The solar market is currently highly concentrated within industrialized countries:

Technology DirectorIronically, the need for solar is greatest in developing markets. Solar is heavily subsidized in Europe and the U.S., spurring market growth. The rural poor often live day to day, using the cheapest immediate solution, and local governments lack the resources for subsidies. A United Nations study showed that it actually costs more to buy a candle every night for 30 years than it would to buy one solar panel, an inverter and the battery. The challenge is the high upfront cost. In 2000, the mobile phone industry had the same barrier. Now about 75 out of every 100 people use mobile phones in developing countries. Imagine if 75% of the population used V3 instead of kerosene, coal, fossil fuels, and firewood. Every time we expand market share, we improve the world. It is a beautiful thing.

Technology DirectorAs wireless technology became prominent, many developing countries never built the network of telephone lines that we have in the U.S. With V3, these same countries will not be required to stretch power lines across their beautiful landscapes because V3 produces clean, renewable energy at the point of consumption.

The mobile phone market grew for two reasons – and V3Solar can follow the same model:

  • Lowered cost of entry
  • Companies trained customers into entrepreneurs who promoted the product

Using this system, there are currently five billion mobile phone accounts worldwide – a staggering number.(6) Working with local companies and entrepreneurs stimulates economic growth and customer loyalty. Henry Ford understood that if his workers could not afford his cars, he had a problem.

In their report, “The Next 4 Billion,” the World Resources Institute outlines the needs and spending patterns of the $5 trillion market that is the Bottom of the Economic Pyramid (BOP). “Four billion low-income consumers, a majority of the world’s population, constitute the base of the economic pyramid. New empirical measures of their aggregate purchasing power and their behavior as consumers suggest significant opportunities for market-based approaches to better meet their needs, increase their productivity and incomes, and empower their entry into the formal economy.”

Lack of clean, affordable energy is part of the poverty trap. Fortunately, one thing developing countries don’t lack is sunshine. In one of his TED talks, Bill Gates said that the most important thing we can do for the poor is to lower their cost of energy. V3Solar can help mitigate this crisis, creating a major opportunity.

Solar is the greatest energy resource in the world…it is not even close.

Technology Director

The challenge has been how to most efficiently harvest that massive energy. We feel we have the answer.

“The currency of the world is not the dollar, it’s the joule….Energy is the single most important technological challenge facing humanity today.”
Nate Lewis
  1. Solarbuzz Marketbuzz 2011
  2. AltEnergyMag.com, Jan/Feb 2012
  3. PV – A Question of Scale
  4. BBC News
  5. BusinessWeek
  6. CNET

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