It's been a year of both continued expansion and mounting challenges for the global solar industry. RenewableEnergyWorld asked solar industry executives to share their thoughts and insights on one burning question:
Michelle Ostiguy, Director of Photovoltaic & Barrier, FLEXcon
To say that it has been a year of continued solar expansion can be somewhat misleading since it depends upon what area, both geographically and economically, is discussed. Some sections of the world certainly are posting a small but steady growth in solar development, but many others see slowed growth and, in some cases, halted production altogether.
While the Department of Commerce has made its preliminary ruling against China in an anti-dumping suit brought by, among others, CASM (Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing), which has given a slight uptick in marketing and sales momentum, there are other difficult factors facing the solar power industry. A major roadblock is the severe cutback in tax incentives both for the manufacturer and the consumer.
The overall economic malaise has caused many government agencies and municipalities to severely reduce or, in some cases, eliminate tax incentives that at one time made it more attractive to both produce and install solar power systems and devices commercially and residentially. Many communities can’t afford the potential decrease in tax revenue that would result in giving tax breaks to solar manufacturing companies, especially start-ups, and a few communities have decided to concentrate on other forms of renewable energy such as wind power.
The anti-dumping suit was a long-sought-after attempt to level the playing field for solar manufacturers in the United States, and a similar suit may not be far behind in Europe. But until the overall economy strengthens to the point of increasing the available investment capital to grow the solar power industry even more, steady to slow growth can be expected.
Before serving as director, Michelle served as market development specialist for photovoltaic and launched FLEXcon multiGUARD®, a global line of backsheets. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Stonehill College and an MBA from Nichols College.
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