Cameron Sinclair – Founder, Architecture for Humanity
1. The rhetoric of the 2012 election will force US-based sustainability advocates to decouple themselves from the political process and seek support elsewhere.
2. The price of solar lows to a tipping point to create huge opportunity for off-grid living both in the US and abroad.
3. The decision over Keystone XL will be one of the main deciders for independents and could swing the election.
4. Architecture for Humanity will be part of a coalition of the willing to implement a 100 sustainable classrooms in North and South America.
Four projects we are excited about at Architecture for Humanity:
1. Completing our ten school building program in Haiti in 2012
2. Designing new Football for Hope centers in South Africa, DR Congo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
3. Starting a Green Schools Program to build one hundred sustainable classrooms.
4. See all the entries for the Unrestricted Access Competition, transforming military spaces to civic places.
Katie Fehrenbacher – Greentech Editor, Senior Writer & Features Editor, GigaOM.com
2011 was a rough year for a lot of companies in the U.S. in cleantech and clean power. Because the price of solar panels dropped dramatically last year a bunch of solar companies have struggled and gone bankrupt. Electric car companies, from GM and its Volt to Fisker and its Karma, didn’t meet expectations either in 2011.
I think in 2012 a lot of cleantech and clean power companies will continue to struggle if they continue to target markets in the U.S. It will be the companies that can sell into the rapidly growing cleantech markets in India and China that will thrive. As I wrote after a recent trip to India in December, India will be a massive market for clean power, as the country is adding on any kind of power – fossil fuel or clean – at a rapid rate. China, too, of course, is investing heavily in solar, wind, energy storage, electric 2-wheelers, the smart grid – and along with that spending billions on a lot of other sources of dirty power.
What will continue to grow in the U.S. is an extension of what I wrote about last year: using the web and mobile to share stuff more efficiently like peer-to-peer car sharing. Airbnb, with its apartment sharing, and Getaround, with its neighborhood car sharing, will continue to see substantial growth in 2012. Other aspects of the so-called Clean Web, will do well, too, like energy efficiency software and using the web to sell solar to consumers.
Finally, with rock bottom prices of solar panels, solar rooftops and utility-scale solar panel projects, will maintain momentum in 2012. It’s the cheapest time in history to buy solar panels – so buy ‘em up while they’re hot now.
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