Gallery: Green Design Predictions for 2012


8. Katie Fehrenbacher - Greentech Editor, Senior Writer & Features Editor,

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.

For more predictions about green from GigaOM check out:

10 things I want from cleantech in 2012
12 smart grid companies to watch in 2012
10 solar trends to watch for in 2012

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