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Panels age and break prematurely

The coating of a solar panel is a critical step for installations small and large alike, allowing a panel to endure the elements and produce power long enough for the owner to break even, or hopeful profit.  But these coatings are also an expensive ingredient in the panel design.

I. Soaring Failure Rates Reveal Dishonest Tactics

The global $77B USD solar industry is grappling with revelations that some suppliers -- including a number of Chinese firms -- have used substandard coating materials to save costs.  The defects are causing panels to fail as early as two years into their (supposedly) 25-year lifespan.

Other defects in panel electrical systems have caused fires in some cases, according to a recent report in The New York Times.  In some cases materials whose use-by date has passed were also used, causing the cell to simply fall apart after installation.

2012 was a booming year for small solar in the U.S. amid a general slippage in alternative energy investment nationwide.  But photovoltaics division general manager Conrad Burke at chemical giant E. I. DuPont De Nemours and Comp. (DD) says that corner-cutting has turned some panels from dishonest OEMs into ticking time bombs.

"We need to face up to the fact that corners are being cut," he warns.

Thin film solar
Panel failures nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012, according to some testers.
[Image Source: EnergyInformative]

The writing was perhaps on the wall.  Since 2009 China has been taking on massive amounts of debt to cut solar panel costs and increasing the production scale of the panels.  Panel makers are desperate to find cost savings in any way possible; in fact the world's largest panel maker up until 2012 -- China's Suntech -- was forced into bankruptcy last year.

STS Certified, a French-owned testing service with labs in Shanghai revealed that between 2011 and 2012 panel defect rates in 215,000 tested modules jumped from 7.8 to 13 percent.  In one case, which the company declined to reveal, a New York Stock Exchange listed Chinese firm had an entire batch of cells prove defective.

One issue, according to Thibaut Lemoine, a general manager at the tester, is that big companies are closing down their lines and subcontracting to smaller, less reliable manufacturers to cut costs.  He explains, "We have inspectors in a lot of factories, and it’s not rare to see some big brands being produced in those smaller workshops where they have no control over quality."

PV Evolution Labs
PV Evolution Labs' CEO scrutinizes a shipment of panels. [Image Source: NYT]

Jenya Meydbray, chief executive of PV Evolution Labs, another tester based out of Berkley, Calif. confirms this troubling trend, stating, "Jenya Meydbray, chief executive of PV Evolution Labs."

II. Chinese Manufacturers Insist They're Innocent; American Firms Also in the Cross-Hairs

Many top Chinese manufacturers swore that the defective cells don't come from them.

Recently recovered Suntech's Chief Technology Officer Stuart Wenham comments, "There are a lot of shortcuts being taken, and unfortunately it’s by some of the more reputable companies and there’s also been lot of new companies starting up in recent years without the same standards we’ve had at Suntech."

Another top manufacturer -- Trina Solar -- replied, "For Trina, quality will not be compromised in our cost-reduction efforts."

But for all the oaths of innocence it's clear that the levels of defective cells from China are rising; and that they're coming from one or more manufacturers.

The results are starting to be felt.  German solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol reports that of 30,000 European Solar projects, 80 percent were underperforming.  In a separate study by Enertis Solar, at a pair of Spanish solar plants defect rates were as high as 34.5 percent [PDF].

Some companies like Enfinity have stopped using Chinese solar panels due to the rising failure rates.  Others like SolarCity -- the largest residential solar installer in the U.S. -- are hanging on.  SolarCity, who is backed by Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) chairman, CEO, and cofounder Elon Musk, continues to use panels from Trina and another Chinese manufacturer, Yingli Solar, but is keeping its eye on things.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk's firm SolarCity is standing by Chinese panel makers. [Image Source: Getty Images]

But even if buyers do forsake Chinese cells, similar issues are brewing in America.  One of the first instances of corner cutting was America's own First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) who set aside over $270M USD to replace failing cells that were made between 2008 and 2009.

Another major U.S. firm who installed panels at a Los Angeles, Calif. area warehouse saw a number of failures at the site and even fires.  The unnamed warehouse would not reveal its source, due to confidentiality agreements.

Ultimately it's those confidentiality agreements that are allowing the dishonesty and corner-cutting to continue, says Suntech's Wenham.  He comments, "We need to start naming names."

Source: The New York Times



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"Buy cheap you pay dear"
By 1prophet on 5/29/2013 7:47:04 PM , Rating: 4
Nothing new here, this is what always happens when consumers are taught/brainwashed short term price is the most important metric as opposed to long term value,

in this case cheap is going to end up being very expensive.




RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/13, Rating: -1
RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By Belard on 5/29/13, Rating: 0
RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/13, Rating: -1
RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By TheEinstein on 5/30/2013 7:49:53 AM , Rating: 3
Oh no you did'nt!

There is a rapid and dramatic increase in oil that is technically feasible to recover. If the recent amounts out of Australia and Europe is correct this amount is going to exceed 4 trillion barrels.

The UNITED STATES has 2 trillion barrels identified and ready to be drilled as it is. Yes I said 2 trillion barrels. USGS has provided enough info for us to survive for hundreds of years alone as it is.

Oil may run out but, due to technology advances, this may be after your great great grandchild celebrates his 100th birthday.

As for the rest of your post and the writer of the story

ABOUND SOLAR had how bad a failure rate and did not get a mention here? And tech advances? yeah maybe indeed, ones which require so much cost currently as to be believed. How about we stop subsidizing failure and use the DARPA reward model exclusively? Meet the benchmarks on time and get a reward.

If you do not know DARPA is how driverless cars came about, not via Google. Same with dozens ofadvanced technologies.

Let me be clear We should reward success and not failure !


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By Mint on 5/30/2013 9:54:16 AM , Rating: 4
The USGS estimate is 50B barrels. The 2T barrel estimate is from elsewhere regarding shale oil, most of which will only be recoverable if prices go up.

If electric vehicles can come down in cost, they will take a big bite out of oil demand and hopefully some OPEC members will defect to bypass quotas, driving down the price of oil. Then we'll only need to drill the cheapest shale resources.

It's just a matter of battery manufacturing tech achieving economies of scale. Electricity has long proven to be way cheaper than gas, so it's just a matter of storage. The raw materials for batteries aren't that expensive, so we will get there for sure.

Oil, OTOH, is unlikely to get much cheaper. Technology is great, but don't forget that the population using oil can easily double or triple as China, India, and Africa get more advanced, and more people are able to afford using oil.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By TheEinstein on 5/30/2013 10:20:42 AM , Rating: 1
There is oil, damned oil, then shale oil (converted from statistics)

You say Pot a toe, I say pah ta toh.

Your semantics are the semantics of the left. Oil, regardless of type, has many factors for cost.

Is it in a mountain?
Is there a road to it?
Is there a pipeline nearby?
Is there a railroad nearby?
Is it in hard rock?
Is it in a lake?
Is it in an ocean?
Is the find on a hillside?

Factors such as these influence initial drilling costs. Those costs alone determine if oil will be exploited (if allowed) or not on the short term.

In fact this is all superflorous... we have another means to MAKE oil. There is a company making plastics to oils. They can take any plastic and do so... including natural gas based plastics.

Thing is no one has done the math on what this can mean since anyone with a clue can see oil from here to eternity.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By SPOOFE on 5/30/2013 5:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
most of which will only be recoverable if prices go up.

Oh jeez, there ya have it then! Since gas prices will never go up again, we can just say goodbye to all that shale oil, forever!


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By CaedenV on 5/30/2013 8:30:59 AM , Rating: 2
Solar is improving quite a bit overall, and I am sure that the major QC issues mentioned in the article are just going to be a little bump in the long road of history, and will be fixed quickly now that they are getting some proper attention.

But solar is not ready for prime time yet. Panel costs still need to come down a little, and install costs seem ridiculously high (at least in my area) which is about half of the overall costs involved in going solar. I am really hoping that in 5-7 years when my roof needs to be replaced, that solar comes down to the point where it will cover my needs, and if things continue the way they have the last 5 years then it will.

However, I think your guesses on Oil are a bit off. Yes, the world will run out of pure raw oil, but (at least in the US) we have another major source of gas: coal. Yes, gassificaiton of coal is more expensive, but as oil runs out, gassificaiton will increase, and prices will rise much less dramatically than predicted in various peak oil documentaries. We have enough coal to provide power and gasoline needs of at least 2 generations, and I have heard some claims of having enough to last a few hundred years (granted I find such claims doubtful considering the sources).
On top of gassification, there is a major push going on to move to concentrated solar, and low grade nuclear technologies (such as terrapower) which will reduce coal needs for power production, and keep electricity costs very low which will spur the acceptance of things like EVs. While EVs are not going to replace the 'family car' or 'soccer mom van' any time soon, they are pretty great as daily commuter cars. I really think that the new 80-100mi cars coming out this year and next will start to sell as battery prices continue to come down.

So ya, will we run out of oil? Absolutely. But with more and more technologies showing up to reduce oil and coal needs, and with such huge coal reserves yet untapped (at least in the US), I think that the oil crash is not going to be nearly as catastrophic as you may be lead to believe. It may still suck to live through this coming transition, but (unless there is some major inflation) it will not $30/gal suck.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By TheEinstein on 5/30/2013 10:11:16 AM , Rating: 2
Allow me to be one of those sources

Heavy crude, light sweet crude, coal, shale oil, tar sand oil, *tries vainly to remember the other liquid, but is to tired*, and natural gas can provide us in excess of 500 years fuel at current consumption rates.

Yes I said it because I did the math (this before some recent finds... but the Obama USGS hides information like a miser hides his money).

This vast sum of energy is only going to go up.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By toffty on 5/31/2013 2:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
HAHAHAHAHA "Current Consumption Rates"

Realize that that's where the '500 years' statement breaks. Oil is consumed at an exponentially increasing rate. The doubling time of use is around 7 to 10 years. What this means is in that time period, more oil is consumed than ALL OIL EVER USED IN EARTH's HISTORY.

In 2011 world oil consumption was 87 billion barrels. That means by 2020 it will be 174 billion barrels. In that time period 1.2 trillion barrels will have been consumed. The other consequence? More oil will have to be discovered, drilled for, pumped, and refined than has ever been produced in all of human history.

Here's a series of youtube videos discussing exponential consumption

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY&list=PL...


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By TheEinstein on 6/1/2013 2:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
You sir are ignorant

While use increases, efficiency has also increased, dramatically.

Most of all you ignore that oil finds have outpaced usage

In fact some USGS estimates have been so low as to be mocked... with fields producing atill and having produced 100 times the low ball estimate.

You want to paint a dire and grim picture... but US consumption is significantly down and has been, even while our production goes up.

Please go away amateur.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By BRB29 on 6/3/2013 8:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
there's plenty of oil in the earth to last us a very long time. The problem is at what cost to get it and what economic impacts. Finding oil is a lot easier than getting it. We've found deposits bigger than we've ever found in Siberia. You don't see people digging that up at a frenzy for a reason.

US oil consumption have seen a 3% decrease since 2010. That's not significant lol. While the world data shows oil consumption is moving up.
http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_m...

http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cf...

I continue to see your exaggerated pro-oil views without much of anything to back it up. Did they pay you or something?


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By 3DoubleD on 5/30/2013 8:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. Solar sucks as far as power generation, and is prohibitively expensive to implement on a large scale.


You say prohibitively expensive... so I got curious and did the math. If we built a gigantic solar farm in Arizona and assume: fixed angle installation (6.22kWh.m^2/day - solar insolation in Prescott, Arizona), US production of electricity was 10.85TWh/day (2009 data), a panel efficiency of 15%, and an installation cost of $4/W:

It would cost ~$7 Trillion and use 15% of Arizona's land.

It's a big bill, and I'm not accounting for how the power grid would need to be dramatically altered, nor the cost of the land; however, I'm accounting for ALL electricity usage, when we would really only need/want to install solar panels to cover peak load (unless we invented a dramatically better energy storage system). This money also needn't be spent all at once, further leveraging the ever decreasing cost of PV technology.

It's a lot of money, maybe even prohibitively expensive. It will become cheaper over time and during that time the cost of conventional electricity will become more expensive. In Italy, this has already happened and solar power is at $/W parity with the power grid. This won't happen in the US for another decade or two. Between then and now, a mega project like this might actually make sense, especially if all cars became electric plug-ins.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By Mint on 5/30/2013 9:23:17 AM , Rating: 2
Lifespan is the key determinant of cost with solar. If panels last 25 years, $4/W isn't that bad, as 20% capacity factor (inferred by your 6.22kWh/m^2-day figure and the solar constant used to rate panel power) works out to 9c/kWh if you have 0% loans.

It's still far more expensive and risky than conventional electricity generation, though. In reality, there needs to be a risk premium on the ROI, panels probably won't last 25 years, you still need backup generation for cloudy days (and they'll charge more per kWh if they sit idle without getting peak demand dollars most of the time), etc.

Solar is always going to have a tough time competing on cost, because it just needs too much damn area and materials.

The best solar concept I've seen is compact linear fresnel reflectors used for solar thermal heating of a steam pipe going into a coal power plant. If the sun shines, you burn less coal to output the same power. The rest of the plant is already built. The solar part is just mirrors, so reliability should be good.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By 3DoubleD on 5/30/2013 9:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
You bring up many good points.

Overall, I'd expect reliability to increase. Also, the cost of replacement may decrease substantially. Moving to a low cost concentration system could dramatically reduce this factor by reducing the expensive PV material required. It would likely also have the bonus of increasing efficiency and thus decreasing land area. Unfortunately, concentrators tend to suffer from mechanical failure, which has limited their use so far.

If you build the solar farm in the desert then the usage of this vacant land matters will have minimal impact while significantly reducing the number of cloud cover days. Certainly putting all of your panels in one place would increase the risk of a cloudy day causing power shortages, so a supplementary power generation scheme would need to be in place (excess solar power generation, natural gas power plants, ect.).

I'll have to look into that solar pre-heating technology for coal, I've never heard of it, sounds cool.


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By Mint on 5/30/2013 10:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
Cloud cover can be geographically enormous (just like wind power correlation). A lot of people think that if you connect a bunch of wind or solar across the country you'll get fairly level output, but that simply isn't the case. They intermittence isn't random, but rather quite well correlated.

So we need a lot of backup. However, how much will peaker plants charge? Say they are getting 15c/kWh for a few peak hours a day right now. With solar, they lose most of their business, but on days when clouds cover most of the nation's panels, we still need them to bail us out. What will they charge? $1/kWh now that they're only called upon a few times a month? Maybe more?

That's why I really like the solar-coal hybrid. It remains a baseload plant regardless of untimely clouds, but we use as much solar power as we can. It also doesn't need any photovoltaics, so the cost floor is great. Mirrors are ~$2/sq foot, and if you have 20% net efficiency (absorb 60% as heat, then have 33% power plant efficiency), you could generate 24W per sq foot - $0.10/W is damn cheap!

According to my calculations, 1 m^2 of reflectors can generate 500 million BTU over 20 years. If you can build a reliable CLFR system for less than $1000/m^2 (the mirrors can be as little as $25/m^2), it should be cheaper than the coal needed to generate the same heat.

The nuclear giant AREVA is leading the way. They're often called solar boosters, creating superheated steam for a fossil fuel plant.
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Can-Ar...


RE: "Buy cheap you pay dear"
By km9v on 5/30/2013 9:28:20 AM , Rating: 2
What???? Chinese mfgs produce cheap crap???? Say it isn't so!


By inperfectdarkness on 5/31/2013 2:31:19 AM , Rating: 2
It's worse than that. Even with the application of Hanlon's razer, I'm still left to conclude that some of this is intentional--and potentially a large majority. It would be stupifyingly naive to believe that China hasn't explored underhanded tactics to undermind US power/capabilities via materials we source from China. In computer electronics alone, trojans, back-door access points, doomsday wipes, etc.

How long before the USA wakes up? Will it be in time to return to a method of domestic production which will insure national security in times of crisis?


Never heard before
By Zingam on 5/30/2013 8:53:29 AM , Rating: 2
:D Chinese companies using substandard materials... wow... so surprising!

Well, this is market economy - just the like the US economists teach the world: reduce the cost, increase the profit and do it by all means necessary (if you have a huge army use that too).




RE: Never heard before
By 3DoubleD on 5/30/2013 9:26:36 AM , Rating: 2
It isn't IF you have a huge army. Capitalists require a large army, police force, ect. Why else would so many people be paid to work in "unproductive" jobs. Unproductive as in they don't produce surplus goods, eg. grow more crops than they eat, build more chairs than they need, ect. (I'm not saying that soldiers or police officers jobs aren't important).

Capitalists pay good money for the army, police, ect. to secure their investments and produce a stable environment for conducting business. All a real capitalist cares about is Money -> Product -> More Money - this is the very definition of capital. Anything that would threaten that transition would then itself be worth spending money on.

Interestingly, by that same definition, few people in this world are actually capitalists, or are at least not conscious about by offloading their retirement investing to someone else. Buying property might be an exception, but again, people might not be conscious about the decision outside the programmed urge to own one's home. Most people tend to follow the Product -> Money -> Product Consumption behavior, which is definitely not the behavior of a true capitalist.


RE: Never heard before
By TheEinstein on 5/30/2013 10:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
*facepalm*

Capitalists?

N. Korea law says 100% of the able population is in the military

The Soviet Union believed in numbers versus quality

Cuba has an extensive police and military force per capita.

CAPITALISTS? EVEN MARX SAW THE ERROR IN HIS WAYS . You are a gnat stinging an elephant and you think you know the way of the world because this is how you think it must be?

Name a legititmate nation (Not the Vatican, city nations, and not any Island nations either) without a military, go ahead. enlighten us herr Goebels. We seek the Priemier Stalins advice on how the Vatican cannot summon divisions of soldiers so they have no power. Please Mao chop the heads off those who disagree!

Your propoganda is weaksauce, you are not the 9000, your longcat is only a centimeter in size, you shal never pass go and collect that $200.

You should slap the face of the person who taught you this drivel.


RE: Never heard before
By 3DoubleD on 5/30/2013 9:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
You totally misread my post (and totally flew off the handle). I said nothing negative about capitalism. I was merely pointing out that in a capitalist society, by definition, it would want a stable business environment, and that necessitates a strong national defense force to project those interests (both at home and abroad).

Also for your information, I'd like to point out that the "communist" states (especially the USSR and China) you listed with large armies were/are in fact forms and variations of "state capitalism" in that the state collects the surplus production of the people and decides what to do with it. This is analogous to the American capitalist who takes the surplus production from his workers (for a salary) and decides what to do with it (sells it for more than the cost of the salary and raw goods). Again, don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying communist governments and capitalists are alike in any other way than that they take possession of surplus production of others and decide what to do with it (re-distribute, sell for profit, ect.).

If the states you listed were actually communist, the people would get to decide what they did with their own surplus - coming from the root of the word "commune". Therefore, since those countries are in fact forms of "state capitalism", you are in fact proving my point - capitalist prefer large armies and police forces.

Capitalist countries have large armies and police forces to protect the ones with power. In the case of "communist" countries those people are the communist leadership (see corrupt and wealthy Soviet, Cuban, North Korean leadership). The in case of democratic countries, it's the rich capitalists (See the people who lobbyists work for in democratic countries... and many politicians). That the rest of the population in democratic countries also enjoys protection of the army and police force is fortuitous and probably speaks to the power of democracy itself. Along those lines, it is the responsibility of every citizen to insure that the army and police force remains a favorable influence on their lives.

Again - not bashing capitalism, the military, or the police. Just calling it how it is. Also, why do you take such revulsion to the word "capitalists"? Being a capitalist is pretty much the "American Dream", I'm not sure why you treat it like a bad word in your post.


RE: Never heard before
By TheEinstein on 5/31/2013 3:32:36 AM , Rating: 2
You are a propogandist.

I AM THE TEA PARTY.

I will not let you try to fake set a new meme or encyclopedia mention, nor twist my own words.

Capitalism is not the source of armies or evil as you attempted to frame it. Nationalism, relgion, economics, tyranny, misunderstandings, jealousy, brinksmanship and more is the cause of wars and a reason for armies.

Police forces are for the sinners in life... yeah I will go there to. Go away Alinksyite, your mojo is measured in picograms while mine is measured using metric tons.


RE: Never heard before
By 3DoubleD on 6/2/2013 10:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
You are a riot, I'll give you that. Still not sure whether you're just being hilarious or serious, but it is funny either way.

The combination of "You are a propogandist" and "I AM THE TEA PARTY" was pretty hilarious... if you can see the irony in that. Kudos.

I never said a word about evil in my posts... so I don't know what you are going on about there. Capitalism, armies, police, ect are neither good nor evil on their own; however, the manner in which they are used can certainly be judged on moral grounds.

quote:
Nationalism, relgion, economics, tyranny, misunderstandings, jealousy, brinksmanship and more is the cause of wars and a reason for armies

Also, you proved my point again - YES economics are a cause for armies and wars. CAPITALISM is an economic system. Why did the US go to war with Iraq? Religion - no. Tyranny - hell no - Americans were not threatened by Iraq. Jealousy, brinksmanship, nationalism - no, no, no. Misunderstanding - possibly... but highly unlikely and even if they really did "misunderstand" the situation, they clearly wanted to go anyway. Economics - YES! - the US wanted a stronger presence in the Middle East to protect US interests.

Now if the US had a different government: monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorship, or communist - the reasons for going to war would have been the same - protecting the interests of capitalists. Who they are may change, but projecting military power for economic gain stays the same.


RE: Never heard before
By TheEinstein on 6/2/2013 6:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
I wear my colors on my sleeve, you attempt to obfusicate it.

Capitalism is the trading of goods, services, and/or monies. It does not care about the economics of nation 1 or 2, it does not care about socialism or facsism (oops repeated myself).

A barter system still demonstrates capitalism, even if no monies were to exist.

There is no alternative to Capitalism except in fantasy. It can never be replaced so blaming it for the woes of the world is infancy.


RE: Never heard before
By 3DoubleD on 6/2/2013 11:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Capitalism is the trading of goods, services, and/or monies. It does not care about the economics of nation 1 or 2, it does not care about socialism or facsism (oops repeated myself).


That isn't really specific enough. Capitalism is the act of taking money -> purchasing goods/services -> and selling it for more money. Capitalism is not bartering (product -> product or product -> money -> product to consume) or modern consumerism (money (salary) -> product to consume) - at least from the viewpoint of the consumer. A capitalist is an investor, a person on the board of directors, an executive officer, a business owner (part or whole). If you own part or all of a company (and thus its goods) then by proxy you purchase labor and raw goods and sell it for a profit, you are a capitalist. In today's world (and for the last few centuries), this is undoubtedly who you want or wanted to be.

Economics is THE reason to go to war. Terrorists strike at your financial heart, making you look weak and "unstable" (in the business sense) - invade Afghanistan. Heavily dependent on foreign oil - invade Iraq and make oil less "foreign". The Soviet Union is expanding towards countries that have US economic interests, fight them through proxy wars. Economics is power. How did the USSR fall? Bullets? Democracy? It was poor economics. Countries will fight viciously for economic gain or stability. Why were Germans so angry leading to WWII? Their economy had collapsed, they wanted to "take it back" and were willing to follow a lunatic to get it back.

You mentioned bartering, so a brief word about that. In the ancient world, the barter system was the most common. For example, you had a carpenter - he produced surplus carpentry products. He alone decided what he did with those products (he traded them for goods with or without currency being involved). In some sense you could say he was a small business owner in the capitalist sense, but it remained on an individual level and all of the "profits" made were entirely used to purchase consumables (food, shelter, clothing). The whole concept of capitalism (money -> product -> more money) was actually something new over the last 2000ish years (in the form of money lenders and merchants) and it only really became popular after the fall of feudalism.

Lastly, my intention here hasn't been to blame capitalism for everything that is wrong with this world; however, understanding how and why the world is the way it is allows us to make better choices. Indeed, capitalism can produce positive AND negative effects if allowed to run wild. Fortunately, it is just an economic system though, and in most cases it is married with democracy.

Capitalism has no conscience and no one should expect it to have one. It is up to the political system to impose the set rules of law. For example, if we think the exploitation of child labor is immoral, we can't rely on capitalism to do the right thing and instead we pressure the government to make it illegal. Should we allow big banks to risk the entire nation's/globe's well being by trading risky packages and over leveraging? If we do the banks could be more successful, but it could (did) go horribly wrong.

The level of control we place on capitalism will always be a matter of personal choice and morals - as are our democratic rights. Being aware of the choice is half the battle. Walking the fine line between upholding our morals and embracing the economic system that has brought so much wealth, education, and technological advances will likely be the legacy of our generations.


Edit please
By neothe0ne on 5/29/2013 10:23:55 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Jenya Meydbray, chief executive of PV Evolution Labs, another tester based out of Berkley, Calif. confirms this troubling trend, stating, "Jenya Meydbray, chief executive of PV Evolution Labs."




RE: Edit please
By Nacho on 5/29/2013 11:57:30 PM , Rating: 3
Why? He is confirming the trend by stating his name and position! :P


Confidentiality.
By Wombat_56 on 5/29/2013 8:23:10 PM , Rating: 5
Ultimately it's those confidentiality agreements that are allowing the dishonesty and corner-cutting to continue, says Suntech's Wenham. He comments, "We need to start naming names."

Now here's a chance for Wikileaks to step in and do some good.




LFTRs
By WinstonSmith on 5/30/2013 9:36:31 AM , Rating: 2
"Chinese quality control" is an oxymoron.

Energy from thorium, please:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw




RE: LFTRs
By ritualm on 5/30/2013 10:32:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thorium nuclear power plants will never get development funding for one very big reason:

You can't make nuke weapons out of thorium.


I'm shocked to hear there gambling..oops...
By mars2k on 5/31/2013 1:57:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'm shocked to hear there gambling..oops...shoddy workmanship going on here. What a supprise its China. Has anyone taken the time to notice the poor quality of manufactured goods coming out of China for years. Lead paint on toys, melamine in baby food, any durable(what a laugh) item you buy a Sam's club falling apart the week after the warranty is up.

Who would have though that Chinese Solar Panels would not be up to snuff?




By superflex on 6/3/2013 10:44:24 AM , Rating: 2
And I'm shocked the Chinese accidentally allowed the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorn Beetle into the States to destroy two valuable species of trees.
I'll spend another $1,500-$2,000 this year taking down more dead ash trees on my property.
Glad the govt keeps subsidizing the ChiComs with their crappy panels but does nothing to support property owners affected by an invasive species.


How is this news?
By BRB29 on 5/30/2013 8:18:42 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Chinese Solar Firms Caught Using Substandard Materials


Am I the only one to think this is not news? It's pretty much an expectation when buying Chinese products. There's less than a handful of Chinese products that didn't look like they cut corners.




Food Processing
By wasteoid on 5/30/2013 8:52:51 AM , Rating: 2
What do you think will happen to our food supply, if the Chinese purchase Smithfield Foods, a major food processing company in the US?

http://www.foodprocessing.com/industrynews/2013/ch...




Panels???
By Outofbubblegum on 5/30/2013 10:42:27 AM , Rating: 2
Has anyone considered that "we could be using a defective source?"

China, please, send a rocket to the Sun and verify its output.

Suggestion: "I suggest that you wait until night."




simple really
By The0ne on 5/30/2013 12:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
government help pay for most of the cost to consumers, businesses are still expensive, demand ramps up, productions tags along, companies got greedy and cut corners, and now we're in a downturn where demand is too far ahead. Greed, there isn't else to discuss.

Solar is improving or rather has improved, and cost are slowing coming down. Edision here in SoCal estimates a large portion of their energy savings from consumer solar; at least that's why the rep said during her presentation. My hometown of San Diego has a large user base, particularly inland obviously.




For those who do not know...
By masamasa on 5/30/2013 4:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
This is actually how the system often works in China. Sub-standard materials, cheat the consumer, build products to break so you can sell them more. Unfortunately, we don't often see it here because if companies did this in North America, they would be done. In China however, this is commonplace.




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