Thursday, July 8, 2010

Obama is a Fool *

The other day, Obama announced $2 Billion dollars to be made available to two US Solar Projects.

The first one is for the production of a Thermal Solar plant, and it doesn't worry me.

The second is to support the construction of two Manufacturing Plants to produce PV Panels, by Abound Solar. This worries me, because I'm confident that it's a bad long term investment.

I didn't follow up on the announcement right away, though I had looked up both projects briefly. I knew that Abound made Thin Film PV, but until a moment ago, I hadn't wondered WHAT KIND of thin film they were using. My heart sunk as I found that Abound Solar produces panels from Cadmium Telluride (CdTe).

What is he thinking??? Well, he doesn't know that he's been given very bad advice.

In brief background, CdTe is also the primary ingredient of Panels produced by First Solar (FSLR), as well as Abound Solar. Cadmium is somewhat rare on Earth, and Tellurium is incredibly rare.

Last year the globe installed 7.5 GigaWatts of PV Solar, and this year the industry is targetting an installation of 15.2 GW. The Global Solar Economy is just getting started and we already see a market of 15+ GW Annually, yet here is a company that is in competition for a raw material capable of supporting only a few GW of Global Annual Production, tops.

I'm quite convinced that First Solar is the Betamax of Solar, and for the same reasons, I have to think that Abound is right there with them on the road to obsolescence.

The funny thing is, that though I might be wrong in some details, I don't hear any Solar Analysts asking for clarification of the issue, and I certainly don't see any of the respective manufacturers bringing it up. There are certainly potential raw materials risks in this area, and yet nobody is offering any easy or obvious solution to the problem.

So, here we have Obama putting money in support of a raw materials competitor with First Solar as if they are some prime symbol of America's technology knowhow, and yet, with some certainty, this will lead to a corresponding symbolic failure of a US CdTe Solar Industry in its competition against the Chinese Silicon-based Behemoth.

This is a failure of the Obama Administration, even if it won't be noticed as such for quite a long time.

* Or he has been duped.

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