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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dot Watt or Watt Com - the next boom and possibly the next bubble...

With so much venture capital flowing into alternative energies and green tech I can't help but think that down the road there is going to be a green bubble. However - the more I think about it, it is also hard to imagine our alternative energy/fuel capacity being greater than demand, especially when you factor in the growth of China, India, and other other emerging economies.

Will there be a consolidation in the photovoltaics industry? You bet. As PV efficiency continues to climb, firms that sell the current standard must either reinvest or acquire a new PV technology or they risk going out of business. If I go with a higher efficiency PV manufacturer, like SunPower's latest PV cell, I need less panels compared to the lower efficiency PVs, and hence, less space on my rooftop. If you are a green investor, make sure you are careful about which solar companies you choose for your investment.

As far as alternative fuels are concerned, almost every day I read about a new biofuels plant being built, but again, its difficult to fathom us ever having too much fuel, especially fuel that is better for not only the engine but our environment.

Which sector is actually underserved in terms of VC? I would say the electricity generation segment. There is money being poured into clean coal and coal gassification technologies but I'm pretty sure its significantly less than the capital being invested into solar and biofuels. We're seeing some signs of huge potential coming out of the solar thermal developments, but those large scale plants are still years away. I'm going to try to dig up some data that breaks down VC by green category but its getting late so in the meantime this NYT article on the dot-watt boom is worth reading.

1 comment:

GerryWolff said...

Further information about solar-thermal or concentrating solar power (CSP) may be found at: