Friday, April 26, 2013

Now IBM wants to play the hybrid game

So Google Alerts is out there sniffing out occurrences of "Hybrid Photovoltaic Thermal" and sometimes brings back a big prize.

Yikes does this look expensive! They say it is not an expensive design concept. I see a part that requires a crane and microchannel (some cooling scheme) multi-junction cells and 2000X concentration - all expensive literally or by implication.

I'm living the "Lean Startup Dream" here at Muppet Labs, so when I see this:
Such a system is currently being developed by researchers at IBM Research, Airlight Energy, ETH Zurich, and Interstate University of Applied Sciences Buchs NTB, after winning a three-year $2.4 million grant from the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation.
Oh, and the video too, where more $ worth of people and gear is on display than I have deployed in the entire course of my project:

OK gotta sleep. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Who will own the gear?

Here is a discussion about the future of Solar Leasing as the ownership model for solar gear.

PPA's and equipment leases and the Tax Equity manipulation (sorry, my bias is showing) and the arbitrage of the accelerated depreciation available to the companies rather than the roof owner. They all get a quick touch here.

It seems like they agree on the math (yay, always a good sign) but the psychology is another matter.

There is a standing problem here which is that NONE of today's solar companies really have the deep roots that give a customer a strong sense that they are very likely to be around in 10 years. We saw the auto companies almost evaporate and gigantic banks and investment houses that sounded like household names vanish. The psychology issue is an interesting one to think about. What company could lend its name to a system that would act as a "you will not be stranded" message.

OR, like cars do we bring down the cost such that in 10 years you just feel like the extra miles are bonus for a lucky pick. To take the win but had it gone the other way you'd just figure you got a good 10 years and move on? Furthering this car analogy - what if you knew that the parts in the system were pretty available and that mechanics that could work on your car were pretty populous... Would you worry as much? This could be a great side network effect of the shrinking of the industry's supply of brands. It feels like i am taking a bigger risk of being stranded when picking between 200 brands but if I am picking from a group of 6 or 10 and they are all pretty big it seems less perilous.

Amazing how many forces are at play. I look forward to having somebody else looking forward... :^)