By Samantha Cole, of Solar Energy World
Inevitably, a discussion about solar power leads to, at minimum, a mention of Solyndra.
For those who do not know, Solyndra was a United States-based solar panel manufacturer that used a unique technology to create solar panels. The company went bankrupt in 2011, and was a topic of political conversation due to the money received by the company in an attempted government bailout. Adding to the fact that Solyndra is not the only solar company to fail, what evidence could there possibly be that indicates solar power itself is not a failed attempt at energy production?
One of the reasons for Solyndra’s failure was the falling price of conventional solar panels. The new technology introduced in Solyndra’s design did not require polysilicon, the material used by the competition. Originally, this was as an advantage, as the material was expensive and in short supply. But material prices plummeted, making conventional solar panels cheaper than the new design. Thus, Solyndra lost a major advantage in the market. Of course, the price decrease means that the traditional solar panels being made by other manufacturers are now more affordable for consumers.
There is a certain amount of risk when starting a new business, or introducing a new technology to the market. There is never a guarantee that a particular innovation will succeed, and oftentimes, for a myriad of reasons, it does not. However, the failure of one company does not stop consumers from purchasing goods or services from every other business. For example the failure of a car manufacturer does not stop people from buying cars, just as the closure of one manufacturer does not necessarily indicate that the others will follow suit.
The cost of solar panels continues to fall, while incentives and financing options make solar power easier and more affordable for consumers. As this trend continues, the prevalence of solar power for homes and businesses will continue to grow. In fact, according to Solar Energy Industries Association, the total number of kW installed by the third quarter of 2012 has already surpassed the total installed for all of 2011. Add to that the commitment of corporations like IKEA, which strives to be energy independent by 2020, and it is clear that the solar power industry will not be fading anytime soon.