Maturing Industries (Short Infographic)

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We’ve already written about the fact that the solar industry is simply going through a maturation process, and that the “solar shakeout” is equivalent to what every major technology industry has gone through (click that link above for more on all that). Last week, however, Giles Parkinson shared a must-see graphic over on RenewEconomy when discussing the downfall of Suntech. It is below, preceded by Giles’ commentary:

Much has and will be written about the collapse of Suntech – once the poster child of the Chinese solar industry, once the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar panels, and once the extraordinary success story of Zhengrong Shi, an Australian researcher who went on to become the world’s first solar billionaire. The unravelling of Suntech is a personal disaster for Dr Shi, and probably a sad end to his bold venture. But if it didn’t happen to Suntech, it would have certainly happened to one of his major rivals, and possibly still will.

This story will likely be told over and over again in the solar sector. As this graph shows, there was once hundreds of car makers in the US before they consolidated into the big car makers, and a couple of niche players. There is nothing to suggest that it won’t happen in the China solar industry too.

major auto manufacturers

In other words, Suntech’s crash shouldn’t deter anyone from going solar — it’s simply one of hundreds of solar module manufacturers, most of which won’t make it to 2050 (despite the fact that solar is almost guaranteed to by the #1 source of power by then).


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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