Survey Finds Solar Energy Growth Expected

New York [] More than half of participants surveyed at the Jefferies Alternative Energy and Cleantech Conference believe solar power will be cost competitive with grid-generated electricity by 2015, while only one-quarter said solar would be competitive by 2010. Jefferies & Company released these alternative energy-related findings from the conference held last month in New York City.

“Although solar energy is a feasible and positive alternative-energy option, the industry is still in the early stages of growth,” commented Jeffrey H. Lipton, Managing Director of Cleantech Investment Banking at Jefferies. “The supply of silicon continues to be the largest barrier to growth, and that trend is expected to continue for the next couple of years. However, current incentive structures will drive production and economies of scale, which will ultimately lower costs. Also, a number of new and interesting technologies are likely to emerge,” Lipton said. Jefferies’ Alternative Energy and Cleantech Conference drew more than 450 attendees from leading alternative energy companies, institutional investors, hedge funds and government agencies. More than 30 companies presented on topics surrounding alternative energy and clean technology, including speakers from DuPont and General Electric, making the conference one of the largest gatherings of cleantech and alternative energy professionals to date. “Venture-capital investment in cleantech is expanding, with annual dollar volume expected to hit approximately $2 billion in 2006, compared with just $730 million in 2001,” said Lipton. “In addition, more and more companies are receiving venture-capital funding every quarter, with the average deal size at approximately $6.6 million in 2005, compared with $6.0 million in 2002.” “A real and sustainable rapidly growing sector is emerging in the area of alternative energy and clean technology,” added Lipton. “The level and breadth of interest at this conference illustrates that this sector is no longer limited to a small universe of investors.”
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