What InterSolar Told Me About the US

by francine Hardaway on July 16, 2009

I walked the floor of InterSolar, the big solar trade show show in San Francisco yesterday. It was full of huge booths, the kind that used to belong to semi-conductor companies ten years ago. Clearly there’s an enlarging market for solar, and I saw solar collectors, including Solyndra’s interesting spherical collectors, sun tracking mechanisms, mountings, and other manufacturing process componentes. A “really big shew,” as Ed Sullivan used to say.

And most of the companies were from outside the United States. While we were sleeping, fighting the War on Terror, Germany became the leader in solar, followed by China. Even Canada does solar manufacturing and innovation. Many American venture capitalists are investing in the space, but I wonder if they are investing on our shores or elsewhere.

American has an arrogant attitude we really can’t afford. The halls of Moscone Center were full of Chinese people. It reminded me of ten years ago, when the halls were full of people from India. Do we have to learn this lesson all over again?

I just heard on the radio that China has exited the recession, because of an “engineered” stimulus from the government. I guess we have a shortage of stimulus engineers, too, in the US. Maybe we need to tune up our education system.

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