Industry survey reveals bankability as principal hurdle for concentrated photovoltaics

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Courtesy of FCBI Energy

In a recent industry survey, PV Insider have identified bankability as the biggest challenge facing companies working in concentrated photovoltaics.

In preparation for the 3rd Concentrated Photovoltaic Summit USA (14-15 November, San Jose), Matt Carr, Global Events Director at PV Insider, took a sample survey of the industry in September and posed the question ‘what is the biggest challenge you are facing in the CPV market today?’  The data was collated and split into five categories, ‘Commercialization & reliability’, ‘Cost’, ‘Bankability & investor perception’, ‘Competition & customer perception’ and ‘Incentives & Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)’.  A third of the responses named bankability as their primary concern - a logical choice considering that CPV is an emerging technology in a competitive landscape.  The PV industry as whole has been affected by recent bankruptcies and market consolidation, so the concern is that investors could be reluctant to place their trust (and wallet) into a commercializing technology.

“There were some definite trends identified through the survey,” stated Carr.  “Before the research started I expected that commercialization of the technology would be the biggest challenge – but I was not surprised to discover that bankability is still top of the industry’s agenda.”   After a recent PV Insider webinar, Andy Skumanich, CEO and Founder of SolarVision Consulting, stated that the bankruptcy of Solyndra would “taint CPV more than PV because of the lack of installed base and the uniqueness of CPV, and the more 'start-up' nature of the CPV companies.'

Not far behind bankability were the ‘Commercialization & reliability’ and ‘Cost’ categories.  For some, the reliability issues surrounding the technology are now more important than the price as CPV battles to make the breakthrough as an established technology.  For others, the challenge is to bring down the costs, in order to compete more effectively with other technologies.  With cheap silicon based modules flowing out of China, CPV needs to drive down its cost in order to maximize the efficiency advantages it has over its rivals.

PV Insider have collated a selection of the responses and analysis on the website: http://www.pv-insider.com/cpv/challenges.shtml

For more details, contact:

Matt Carr
PV Insider
matt@pv-insider.com

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