Solar Energy is an abundant resource and as unlimited as the Big Texas Sky. Although the technology required to unleash both the power and economic fury of solar energy is still in development, it may offer the ultimate solution for American and the World in the coming decade.
The utility of solar energy is quite obvious as the potential energy output from the sun is virtually unlimited. Current estimates provide for annual solar energy in the amount of 49,837 exajoules which is an enormous number many times the magnitude of all of the energy generation systems on Earth. The technical challenge and opportunity for clients is to effectively capture this source of enormous energy.
The existing technology follows two major points of trajectory, i.e., photovoltaic and concentrated solar power. Both of these technologies provide investment opportunities for clients seeking to become involved in the solar industry.
Most people are familiar with photovoltaics as it provides for the instantaneous conversion of sunlight to electricity generally through panels installed on buildings and homes. Interestingly, the first solar cell was constructed in the 1880s and has continued on the path of refinement over the many years. Early solar cells in the United States reached efficiencies of only approximately 5%, however, by 2012 efficiencies have exceeded 20% and emerging technology has produced power in excess of 40%.
The manufacture of photovoltaic cells and panels have mostly been effectuated in China although there is substantial production in the United States. The technology has consistently improved and become more affordable for consumers and businesses particularly with the utilization of tax credits. Our clients have pursued various opportunities including acting as resellers of the solar cells which is the typical configuration. This is a basic business concept and easy for the firm to employ and explain to the client including the business model and legal implications.
The further development of the technology is an excellent intellectual property opportunity for our clients with regard to the acquisition of the IP through transfer of existing patents or filing of new ones. Our IP department is ready and able to assist in this regard.
Concentrated solar power is another opportunity and has also been around since the 1800s when it was first developed by focusing mirrors in a configuration to cause the boiling of water and spinning of a turbine. Even over the many years, the technology is still basically the same although there have been improvements in the refinement of mirrors and concentration of the reflected light through better technology and computer interface. Unlike solar energy, which is decentralized in its application, concentrated solar is a unitary system very much like a traditional power generating facility. The standalone facility would generate enormous amounts of electricity on a centralized basis which would then be distributed either directly to consumers or via a utility.
These different approaches require different business and legal solutions from the standpoint of land use/development, regulatory approval, and IP protection (patents for hardware, software, and computer code).
At Moster Craft we look forward to guiding you through the process of Solar Energy development. Our attorneys have the experience to answer your questions in the critical areas which matter including land use, regulatory, technology and IP, and the business structure of your venture.