One of my biggest beefs with solar companies such as Canadian Solar and Trina Solar
During the early production scale-up of a solar cell/module manufacturing business, capital expenditures dwarf cash flows. In the case of successful companies such as First Solar
Couple these heavy and routine reinvestment requirements with the rapidly evolving nature of the business, and you have a recipe for disaster. Not only do you put your balance sheet at risk by borrowing heavily to build your production facilities, but you also have no assurance that your technology will be competitive long enough to make the investment worthwhile.
Solar companies such as Yingli Green Energy
For me, the case of Evergreen Solar
Today I'm wondering whether a new generation of solar companies won't push that model to the logical extreme. In the semiconductor space, giant foundries run by the likes of Taiwan Semiconductor
Both TSMC and UMC have dipped a toe into the solar space, so perhaps I'm not the only one drawing this analogy. I'll grant that it may not hold up, though, on account of a different intellectual-property landscape. I'm keen to hear from those involved in either industry on this subject.