What needs to happen for the solar industry to recover from the current slump? That’s been the question on the minds of manufacturers, service providers and investors in the past few months when solar panels were piling up in warehouses and prices were falling faster than a Russian rocket.
Applied Materials, which sells solar factory equipment, reported its fiscal third-quarter earnings yesterday and, unsurprisingly, it saw a decline of sales during the first six months of this year. Its chief executive, Mike Splinter, struck an optimistic note when he told analysts on Wednesday that solar market demand is “now accelerating.” Its chief financial officer, George Davis, was more cautious and noted it’s too early to say the current quarter will be the tail end of the slump.
Here is a list of trends that could give the solar market a big boost:
1. Making solar affordable. Prices of solar panels have fallen quickly this year – IMS Research noted last month a 15-percent drop during just a six-week period earlier this year. That has hurt solar manufacturers, who experienced big declines in profits or posted hi...