Solar innovation marches on

Hundreds of labs around the world..

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. (More…)

Some time ago, we started a series on solar energy innovation that proved quite popular (part 1, part 2, part 3). While there is steady and gradual progress in conversion efficiencies (the part of sunlight converted into electricity) and cost, there are companies and labs all around the world working on more radical concepts.

Radical concepts that could offer existing solar players (almost all of them already deeply plagued by market circumstances) a run for their money, but at the same time offer a critical break through to a future without subsidies and mass adoption.

We feel that investors in existing solar companies (or any company) tend to be insufficiently aware of industry characteristics. For instance, many investors were focusing on the growth in demand and steady cost reduction, while having insufficient appreciation for the lack of pricing power, due to the fact that solar cells are a near commodity. This often turned out to be a costly mistake.

Also, insufficient weight is often given to the lack of a dominant design and the fact that literally hundreds of labs and relatively unknown, often non-public companies are trying new approaches, any one of which might lead to a more radical break-through in price and/or efficiency. [Read on here]