David Anthony’s Last Question – Can We Power the US Solely off of Solar?

On July 10, 2012, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

By Tao Zheng, with David Anthony, an active cleantech venture capitalist, who passed away in April 2012.  The sun is the champion of all energy sources, in terms of capacity and environmental impact. The sun provides earth with 120,000 terawatt (TW) energy, compared to technical potential energy capacity of single digit TWs from other renewable sources, […]

The Triple Crown in Solar

On November 22, 2010, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

Like it or not, solar is still the crown jewel in cleantech.  Whither goes solar, there goes cleantech.  So I got to thinking about the next decade in solar, and what will determine which companies achieve primacy.  I think there are three races in solar technology to watch these days.  Call it the Solar Triple Crown.  […]

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My First View of Solyndra Up Close

On October 22, 2010, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

 Solyndra CIGS Panels on South Houston High I had a chance to see my first Solyndra solar panels in action today. Three organizations run by friends of mine, HARC, Ignite Solar, and American Electric Technologies, are partnered up to install a 145 kW uber photovoltaic test bed on two schools (Sam Rayburn and South […]

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Craton Barreling Ahead

On October 11, 2010, in Blog, by Richard T. Stuebi

by Richard T. Stuebi Being a senior advisor to the firm, I attended last week’s annual meeting of Craton Equity Partners, a cleantech private equity fund manager based in Los Angeles. While cleantech in its focus, Craton doesn’t take on much technology risk. Rather, Craton generally invests in companies that have largely proven their technologies […]

Making Niche With Solar

On March 29, 2010, in Blog, by Richard T. Stuebi

by Richard T. Stuebi One of the better business books I’ve ever read is The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School. The core message of the book is that disruptive technologies — ones that ultimately change an entire industry — only penetrate a marketplace by first serving tiny niches that […]

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If Larry King Wrote My Column….

On May 18, 2009, in Blog, by Richard T. Stuebi

by Richard T. Stuebi You heard it here first: the energy consultancy Douglas-Westwood is claiming in a May 11 white paper that “peak oil” may have already happened, as far back as October 2004, and that the oil price boom followed by economic collapse is indicative of how things will play out over the decades […]

The REAL Story on Moore’s Law for Solar

On April 22, 2009, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

All new industries seem to think they deserve a Moore’s Law. The photovoltaic solar really, really thinks it deserves one, since it kind of sort of looks like a semiconductor business: Photovoltaic Moore’s Law Will Make Solar Competitive by 2015, IEEE.org, Understanding Moore’s Law, DistributedEnergy.com, and Silicon Valley Starts to Turn Its Face to the […]

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Separating Reality from Myth in Mass-Market PV

On July 28, 2008, in Blog, by Richard T. Stuebi

by Richard T. Stuebi Rarely have I encountered a subject so widely misunderstood as the retail application of solar photovoltaics (PV). So many people are terribly excited about PV, and are dying to install it on their house or building as a way to cut their ever-rising energy bills (not to mention the eco-friendly statement […]

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Tech Giant Intel Joins IBM and Applied in Big Solar Bet

On June 17, 2008, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

Following on the 2006 and 2007 announcements of technology giants Applied Materials and IBM moving into the solar sector, Intel has joined the fray in 2008 with the spinout of SpectraWatt, its newly created solar division. I had a chance to chat with Andrew Wilson, a longtime Intel guy who is the CEO of Spectrawatt, […]

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Plug and Play PV

On April 14, 2008, in Blog, by Richard T. Stuebi

by Richard T. Stuebi It’s notoriously the case that most photovoltaics installations are custom-tailored — designed, engineered and installed — specifically for each application. This, of course, dramatically increases the cost and hassle factor for a customer to implement PV. For awhile now, PV pundits have stressed that the technology needs to become “plug-and-play” in […]

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Cutting the Cost of Solar the Unsexy Way

On March 4, 2008, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

Most of Silicon Valley focuses on the cost of the photovoltaic module, and how to bring that down. In fact, most of Silicon Valley focuses on how to fundamentally change the basic technology of the module – from crystalline silicon based to thin film deposition. Very sexy. And very risky. And currently breaking the back […]

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Rising Solar Prices – Where is the Shakeout?

On August 16, 2007, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

18 months ago I did an article on rising solar prices threatening the industry, and I think it’s time to revisit some of those thoughts. “One of the most disturbing things about the solar industry, the rising star of cleantech, has been its recent rising prices. According to the SolarBuzz.com survey, module prices are up […]

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When it Comes to Solar – Lest We Forget

On August 15, 2007, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

I saw a news article recently on the space walk to do repair and relocation on solar photovoltaic array on the International Space Station. It reminded me to keep in perspective a bit of energy history. The US basically invented the solar industry to help power the space race. And the industry grew out of […]