New Hampshire, United States [Photovoltaics World magazine] PennWell is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. As our cover illustrates, the history of the company is deeply rooted in the oil business. In 1910, P. C.Boyle, PennWell’s founder, bought the Oil & Gas Journal (then named Oil Investors’ Journal), renamed it, changed its frequency from semimonthly to weekly, and moved the company to Tulsa, OK where it is headquartered to this day. Legend has it that P.C. Boyle was a spectacular oil scout during the 1880s, roaming the oilfields on a black horse, scouting news and drilling activity.
The world still depends heavily on oil and other traditional energy sources, such as natural gas and coal. But a new age is dawning, with a push on to develop sustainable alternative energies, including wind, hydro, biomass/geothermal and, of course, photovoltaics.
PennWell has recognized the need to cover these alternative sources in a big way: The Renewable Energy Network now includes, in addition to Photovoltaics World, Hydro Review, Renewable Energy World North America, RenewableEnergyWorld.com, and Renewable Energy World magazine.
The rapidity with which new energy sources will be adopted depends on many factors. It’s no secret that low natural gas prices, for example, tend to suppress the renewable energy market. On the other hand, the recovering market is hungry for good economic projects, and green projects such as utility-scale PV solar farms fit the bill perfectly.
In this issue, we provide the outlook for 2010 from leading analysts and forecasters. The concensus is one of cautious optimism. “PV has come a long way, and we feel that its benefits, especially in today’s energy environment, will overcome the loss of incentives and, in the long run, continue traditional growth,” notes Robert Moran of BCC Research.
Paula Mints of Navigant Consulting adds, “nothing will change for the PV industry until it can operate (mostly) incentive-free. One this happens, it will be able to compete on a level playing field with other energy technologies.” The way to make that happen is through increased efficiencies made possible with new technologies.
We’ve traded horses for browsers, e-mails, and phones, but we’re still on the same mission as P.C. Boyle: scouting for news and industry activity. Happy 100th, PennWell!
— Pete Singer, Editor-in-Chief