First Solar Is Using Robots to Better Tap the Sun

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Banjo, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Banjo


  2. Sig


    It's important to understand that the thin film panels that First Solar makes are a fundamentally different product than the silicon panels imported from China. They are significantly less efficient then traditional silicon panels, which although that sounds bad actually isn't in any way except size. A thin film panel is going to need to be significantly larger than a traditional silicone panel to produce the same amount of electricity. Which is not a problem for large solar farms, where the cost per watt is really all that matters, but makes them almost entirely unsuitable for residential and commercial rooftop applications. And that's were the stupidity of the trade decision comes in. We eliminated tens of thousands of jobs among the labor intensive industry of those who install solar panels on roofs by making the panels more expensive. These are good, high paying jobs that don't require a degree and can't be outsourced...I thought the kind of jobs everyone could agree we need to keep. And we "saved" a couple dozen manufacturing jobs at two now bankrupt solar panel manufacturers, one of whom (Suniva) in the ultimate irony is a wholly owned subsidiary of a Chinese firm(Shunfeng International Clean Energy)! Our own success story, First Solar, was able to deal with competition from China just fine and will continue to do it's thing churning out millions of panels for large utility scale farms but won't be able to serve the now impacted rooftop market, a somewhat complex set of circumstances clearly far beyond the intellectual capability of the current band of merry men in the white house.
    piezoe and d08 like this.
  3. d08


    I smell a trade war coming. EU, China, Korea, Japan will try to avoid it as long as possible but Trump is one those people who keeps pushing you every day and then acts surprised when you snap. After many trade barriers are put in place, it'll take a decade or more to revert.