The solar energy industry presents a host of attractive opportunities for both public and private investors interested in entering the renewable energy space. While the industry suffered a considerable decline in the recent credit crisis, it is likely to come out of the downturn with lower input prices, depressed valuations and a shortage of experienced capital providers. In addition, savvy investors can position themselves for a projected recovery period across a spectrum of risk/reward profiles, ranging from high-tech, CapEx-heavy manufacturing equipment providers to the low-tech, service-oriented installation businesses.
This report aims to provide a detailed overview of the entire solar market, covering photovoltaic, solar-thermal and concentrating sub-sectors, and to analyze key differences along the value chain (from raw materials providers to installers). The report is geared toward investment firms, but may be equally insightful for corporate strategy professionals, consultants and advisors.
INDUSTRY REPORT THEMES
The report includes a brief history of solar technology, an explanation of the core differences between solar thermal and photovoltaic technology and an in-depth hierarchical taxonomy of solar technology. We describe mono- and polycrystalline silicon panels, as well as varieties of thin-film products (aSi, CdTe, CIGS, CIS, GaAs and TF-Si) currently on the market. On the solar-thermal side, we analyze the use of solar heat in water heating, air heating and cooling applications. For each, we examine active and passive systems, including a number of direct and indirect system varieties. In addition, we look at the rapidly growing field of concentrating solar energy, including CST, CPV and hybrid technologies and describe the relative benefits and limitations of concentrating solar versus distributed systems.
In the report, we create a detailed estimate of the total size of the solar energy market at various points along the value chain. This allows investors to understand the makeup of the aggregate solar market size and the value added at each step of the production cycle. The report looks at historical and projected growth rates, and estimates the number of companies in each sub-segment in order to help investors more accurately assess the availability of add-on acquisitions during their investment horizons. We list out some of the largest companies in the market, as well as some of the promising young start-ups that are relevant in the field.
The report’s strategy section describes and analyzes the key themes most relevant to investors in the solar energy industry, including but not limited to:
- Trends in the broader renewable energy sector
- The regulatory landscape in the U.S. and abroad
- The effect of the recent credit crisis on the industry
- Recent oversupply of polysilicon capacity and subsequent drop in prices
- Competitive analysis of solar versus other types of energy
- Traditional ‘five-forces‘ and ‘SWOT‘ framework analyses
- An explanation of the most relevant investment risks in the industry
- A list of due diligence questions investors should ask of their potential investment targets
Company & Financial Analysis
In the financial section, we provide a public-market comparison of profitability, margins and revenue growth, as well as a valuation analysis that includes public comparables, historical price performance and transaction multiples. Finally, we provide short profiles of 120 companies and investment firms that are active in the solar industry, as well as a list of over 50 useful resources for additional research such as relevant industry associations, other industry reports, upcoming conferences and informative websites.