SolarPower 2006: The Absentee Version

This week’s SolarPower 2006 conference in San Jose is seemingly turning into one of those epochal events in technology & finance, one where markets, popular imagination, and risk capital are in alignment. Read coverage at the L.A. Times for an example, complete with comparisons to the electronics boom, as well as lots of obligatory chatter about solar being the next big thing.

Whatever your feelings about the near-term market, solar is interesting stuff, so it’s nice to see the SolarPower conference organizers have put up videos from the event. Lots of good stuff, both in the archive, as well as live today and tomorrow. Check the photovoltaics market overview for one archive example.


  1. Is it really an epochal convergence? Why? Is there some 10x improvement in technology or are people just putting more money in at this point, hoping there will be? (I’m asking for real – not cynically).
    Unless solar gets 10x cheaper, why would an average person replace what already works perfectly well? It seems a long way off until solar has a value proposition for the masses.
    Of course, the rich – like Google – can throw money at it now – maybe that’s what’s needed? Or maybe that’s what caused the prices to go up(!) recently – it’s cool for rich people, and the module manufacturers can sell at higher prices…
    Solar as the new Armani won’t help much.

  2. Well, I was being somewhat of an ironist, hence my dig about the “next big thing”. And the “epochal” descriptor referred more to the enthusiasm about technologists, entrepreneurs, and VCs than about the real, near-term merits of the market.
    The preceding said, if you’re thinking of venture the way it’s supposed to work — investing in things that could take off in 4-7 years — then solar is at least worth watching.

  3. I wish there was a way to get the presentations with all the data.