Solar Technology May Finally Be Ready to Take

Starbucks @ Fortune Plaza Beijing
Realizing that coffee is the new opium
0930 hrs.

Just as Silicon Valley was the nursery of the transistor industry, the microchip business, and the personal computer, it appears that the fertile ground at the south end of the San Francisco Bay will also nurse CleanTech.

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that San Jose based Nanosolar is now shipping a thin film solar cell that can produce a watt of electricity for less that $1 – cheaper, apparently, than coal (at least in developed economies.)

While the American in me is delighted that the product is made in California, the businessman in me thinks that if Nanosolar could produce its solar panels in China, they could drop the cost to the point when even Chinese companies start to see he virtue of adopting solar over coal.

They may be here sooner than later. Despite a huge local subsidy to put their HQ and first production facility in San Jose, I suspect they are going to find demand exceeding their 430 megawatt annual capacity fairly soon. With rivals setting up here, China is probably an inevitable part of their plan.

Congratulations, Nanosolar. Get through that IPO (which we just know is coming) and then come swing by China and start looking for factory sites. When you come through Beijing, we’re buying lunch.