Suntech CEO, Zhengrong Shi, a prime mover in helping to turn China into a global force in photovoltaic technology, has been a major influence in bringing China’s solar PV cost structure down and making China a powerhouse in photovoltaic technology–and became a billionaire in the process. Shi’s ambition is to make solar power as cheap as conventional electricity.
By some measures 2009 has been the worst year in the young solar PV sectors history. In fact, global revenue for Photovoltaic (PV) panels is expected to drop by nearly 20 percent in 2009, as oversupply causes prices to crash by nearly fifty percent. Many of the weaker firms may not survive this shakeout and right now things do look very gloomy – even though by some other measures 2009 is not as bad as it may seem. For example more newly installed capacity (4.2 GW) is installed this year than any year – ever; however this is of little comfort to the many firms in this sector that are being buried under an avalanche of negative revenue. This article examines the short term outlook for the solar PV sector going forward, basing itself on market data from a recent iSuppli study.