Lightspeed: 5 Predictions for Solar 2008

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We love cleantech investors who blog. Andrew Chung, a senior associate at Lightspeed Venture Partners, pens an interesting post today on five predictions for the solar market in 2008. Chung says the Lightspeed team has evaluated over 400 cleantech startups to date and has made investments in solar photovoltaic startup Stion, as well as LS9, Coaltek, and Solazyme, among others. Lightspeed closed a $480 million fund — Lightspeed VII — at the end of 2005. Check out his trends below, but make sure to read his full post for more explanation:

1. Solar will sustain its torrid growth, as costs continue to fall.
2. Emerging startups that benefit from the polysilicon supply shortage will face increased pressure, as the poly-Si crunch begins to ease.
3. Entrepreneurs will increasingly look beyond cell and module production.
4. China and India will begin to emerge as strong domestic markets for solar.
5. More IT entrepreneurs will continue to start or join solar ventures.

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Scott Boutwell

The involvement of IT entrepreneurs is an interesting twist: given their background in market development, perhaps we will see more ‘partner ecosystem’ and channel development to drive rapid growth.

As I commented on the Lightspeed blog, I think the Engineering & Construction (E&C) industry is poised to serve as a viable channel; these companies serve as trusted advisors to capital project decision makers in multiple verticals, and are actively seeking new cleantech (solar, water) tech to leverage.

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