Yesterday saw the NEC Top 100 Technologies reviewed here and Al Fin kicking in’s Top Bioenergy Companies on his energy blog. Then last night the news out of Japan has it that Toshiba, the huge company we see in electronics like laptop computers and TVs has jumped into utility scale solar photovoltaics. Now don’t expect that you’ll be finding them at Best Buy or Circuit City, because Toshiba will be offering the panels through their Transmission Distribution and Industrial Systems division. They are already spooling up rechargeable batteries for industrial use with an already running systems integration operation for installing power generation equipment.

The plan is to get solar photovoltaics to $2.2 billion of sales by 2015. They are following Sanyo and Sharp who are ahead in the business. It’s a raw muscular entry into the business. The numbers must be better than we’re thinking – this is a lot of economic, engineering and manufacturing resources heading to market.

Here, Americans are grappling with rooftop PV cells being just uneconomic without some form of stimulus that needs to be a subsidy measured in cash for them to get sold and installed. Something is way different over there.

I think it is sourced from short-term thinking on our part. The 1980s can be remembered as the period when much of the developed world was aghast at the capabilities of Japanese business to hunker down, plan and execute with precise and successful results. Witness the invasion of top quality automobiles sucking up great hunks of market share, ready with, albeit in short supply, the hybrid Prius model before the great oil price run up of 2008. Planning and long term investing pays when you know where you’re going, particularly long term.

Quarterly results can kill your career in the U.S. So, this Friday will mark the completion of a 90-day quarter since – the DJIA setting it’s 14,164.53 all-time high only back on October 9th. Since a year ago Christmas oil has gone from under $100 to over $147 and back down under $37. A Bloomberg headline story said, “It has been a year of record misery: the largest bankruptcies, bank failures and Ponzi scheme in U.S. history; $720 billion in writedowns and losses by financial institutions; $30.1 trillion in market valuation wiped out . . . Plus the Feds have signed up to borrow nearly a trillion dollars in the next six months, before Obama’s stimulus is added in. Just where is all that money going to come from? The hard bad debt writedown doesn’t even come to a trillion dollars.

Do you really believe that the federal government gathering up such sums and passing them out will be a solution that works over time?

It’s a panic response. Led by the mass media and powered up by politicians to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s a huge mistake to effectively seize financial capital and pass it out as disposable income. Market valuations go up as well as down, quickly as we’ve just seen, but its phantom money. The government spending is hard cash, hard debt. The measures may be dollars for either one but they are not the same thing.

While America is deluding itself, following the pied pipers into a self made worsening recession, others are investing, building, designing, selling and making a future – America is indebting herself with freebies for the masses in a short-term convulsion mostly blind to the opportunities that today’s problems offer for the future.

For all of the hype over Obama being a student of history he might want to look into the results of bread and circuses starting with the Romans.

What’s different? The others scrimp on spending; then invest in things that save on recurring expenses, and invest in the production of newer better and cheaper products to sell. The other difference is they see things in years – not quarters of a year. It’s a huge advantage.


2 Comments so far

  1. BlogArias on September 18, 2009 12:56 AM

    Nice blog posts, I’ve read about 2-3 of them, I will follow you more often. Keep up the good work

  2. Photovoltaics on October 22, 2009 12:25 PM

    We may all be relying on photovoltaic energy in the future, we need to spread the message loud and clear.

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