Solar Power
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Emcee:  Copperfield Type:  Unmoderated
Top solar power executives voiced fears that their industry's stellar growth over the past few years might stall due to a global shortage of polysilicon, the main component of solar cells. Takashi Tomita of Japan's Sharp, the world's biggest solar-cell maker, warned of what he called a "vicious spiral" in which the market could grind to a halt as rocketing silicon prices meant suppliers could not afford to meet demand. "I am very worried about it, because a shortage of polysilicon materials would lead to an increase in prices of polysilicon and could ultimately lead to a stagnation of the solar-cell market, said Tomita, chief of solar systems at Sharp. The solar market currently supplies a fraction of 1 percent of the world's energy needs and is worth an estimated $7 billion annually. The industry may increase that proportion to 8 percent by 2030, according to the European Renewable Energy Council.
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