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A Green Tsunami

By: Robert Walt at Walt & Company

Submitted on Thu, Jul 9th, 2009 1:01 am

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a lot more green-/chip-blog chatter about a recent story that ran on the front page of the NY Times Business Section regarding Taiwan Semiconductor’s (TSMC) likely move into the solar cell and LED lighting businesses. As the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, TSMC has the proven ability to rapidly alter to the economics of any market it enters.  In a fairly short time span, TSMC manufacturing prowess could dramatically increase solar cell and LED manufacturing volume.  The result would be an order of magnitude increase in the supply, and sharp decrease in price, of both. If this happens, it could easily have the same kind of effect that Intel had on the PC market with its X86 architecture, or that Apple had on the digital music business with the iPod.  It’s a game-changer. If TSMC moves ahead, the potential benefits to energy consumers – individuals, businesses and government – and, of course, the environment are enormous.  The impressive reduction in carbon emissions forecast by Cooler Planet if just 5 percent of households went solar could be a gross underestimate if the price of solar panels dropped precipitously.  LED’s potential of slashing industrial, residential and public lighting energy requirements – as well as significantly reducing the energy required to run air conditioners to cool all those lights – could be realized as well. For existing producers of solar panels and LED lighting, TSMC’s possible move should have their marketing and PR teams burning the midnight oil (fossil fuel pun, sorry).  Some of their top priorities might include: Researching how leading fabless semiconductor companies build and maintain market value Developing communications programs today to ensure brand value in tomorrow’s market Understanding how customer requirements and motivation are impacted by price Being prepared for foreseeable contingencies in business is always smart.  In the case of the still embryonic green tech community, I believe it’s essential.  As far as this situation goes, my guess is that TSMC won’t keep us hanging for too long. Bob Walt Continue Reading
Contributed By:
Robert Walt
Walt & Company

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