There is a typically wide-ranging and useful article in the current issue of Nature on the increasing Valley ardor for photovoltaics. Among other things, it rightly makes the connection between the semiconductor industry and the PV industry, with “cast-off materials and technologies” increasingly driving new generations of PV performance.
The piece also, however, captures the Valley obsession with decentralization and democratization of the tools of production, a theme into which photovoltaics plays very well.
Here is the obligatory up-and-to-the-right chart from the Nature piece. Still worth a look:
As a related aside, my friend Eric Savitz at Barron’s has been all over the PV story from an investing perspective. In particular, he has written a number of times on the polysilicon shortage, which is one of the material constraints in the solar business. (Showing how heated things have become, there is a straight-outta-1999 plug in Eric’s comments from someone promoting ATA.TO, and more specifically a subsidiary of which, Photowatt, that makes photovoltaic cells and has filed to list on Nasdaq. What fun.)