Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2010

  • Looking into the Future: Solar Technology

    Tuesday 14th September 2010 - 5:15pm - 6:15pm

    Download PDF

  • Looking into the Future: Solar Technology

    While solar energy is "clean", its low efficiency and high cost make it less attractive than conventional energy sources.

    How will recent advances in the field lead to a new energy equation?

    Key Points

    • Clean, with an abundance of raw materials and a minimum of maintenance: solar energy’s future looks bright.
    • Regulatory support and technological advancement will help solar develop in the future.
    • Combining solar with another form of energy production allows solar to be more viable now.

    Synopsis


    Solar energy might be the mobile phone or computer of the next decade: the technology that changes the way people interact with the world. Yet, current technology remains hamstrung by the inability to produce during the darker parts of the day. Government subsidies, while helpful, fluctuate according to political winds: what the government gives, the government can take away.

    Photovoltaic (PV) technologies have improved their efficiency from around 10% in 2004 to up to 20% now; this trend will likely continue in the future. In the meantime, hybrid options – like using solar to heat water that powers generators – provide a possible solution for capitalizing on the industry while waiting for technological evolution.

    Other Key Takeaways


    When photovoltaic technologies reach the “holy grail” of grid parity – i.e. equal in price or cheaper than grid power – PV will become mainstream.

    The global social consensus is increasingly evolving towards low-carbon energy production solutions that will benefit solar power.

    Session Panellists

    Arnold Goldman

    , Chairman and Founder, BrightSource Energy, USA; Technology Pioneer

    Michael Grätzel

    , Professor, Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

    Peng Xiaofeng

    , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, LDK Solar, People's Republic of China

    Deepak Puri

    , Chairman and Managing Director, Moser Baer, India

    Moderated by

    George Foster

    , Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Professor in Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA

    Disclosures


    This summary was written by Isaac Stone Fish. The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum.

    Copyright 2010 World Economic Forum
    No part of this material may be copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form by any means or redistributed without the prior written consent of the World Economic Forum.

    Tuesday 14 September

    Keywords: Solar, energy, PV

Speakers

  • Michael Grätzel Michael Grätzel
    Professor, Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

    Doctorate in Natural Science, Technical University, Berlin. Professor, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausan...

  • Arnold Goldman Arnold Goldman
    Chairman and Founder, BrightSource Energy, USA

    BSc in Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles; MSEE, University of Southern California. ...

  • Deepak Puri Deepak Puri
    Chairman and Managing Director, Moser Baer, India

    Degree in Mechanical Engineering; studied at St Stephen's College, New Delhi. Spokesperson for the h...

  • Peng Xiaofeng Peng Xiaofeng
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, LDK Solar, People's Republic of China

    1993, diploma in International Business, Jiangxi Foreign Trade School; 2002, executive MBA, Beijing ...

Moderated by

  • George Foster George Foster
    Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Management and Dhirubhai Ambani Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, USA

    Degrees in Economics, University of Sydney; PhD, Stanford University. Specialist in entrepreneurial ...