As Chinese production of solar panel equipment has ramped up, the price has precipitously dropped. According to yesterday’s New York Times, panel prices have fallen about 40 percent since last summer, according to analysts at the investment bank Piper Jaffray.
At the same time, demand for solar in Europe has slowed down as Spain has ended the government subsidy for solar panels. However, solar has gotten increased attention in the United States, particularly in the American southwest, in states like California, Arizona and Nevada.
Newsweek magazine also reported this week that “In 2008, 33,500 rooftop solar systems were installed in the United States, a 63 percent increase over the amount of capacity installed in 2007. In California, the solar capital of country, the increase was 95 percent.”
Chinese polysilicon companies, which manufacture a key component of solar panels, have been vastly boosted their production. In fact, Reuters reported yesterday that the Chinese company “GCL-Poly, which acquired $3.4 billion worth of solar assets in June, is on track to produce about 3,000 tons of polysilicon by year end. LDK Solar aims to produce 5,000 tons by 2010.”