This is part three of my interview with Michael Liebreich, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. See part one and part two.

Michael Liebreich. (Photo by Mike Lawn/Bloomberg.)

Q. The big story in solar right now is the flood of cheap, silicon-based panels from China and the subsequent wiping out of non-silicon solar companies in the U.S. and Germany (including, most famously, Solyndra). How will that play out?

A. A few years ago, China bet on blasting the existing stage of technology with money and process engineering, and American companies bet on the next generation, the funky stuff like CIGS. You could say that the Chinese definitely won this round. (Though I suspect First Solar, being a very well-run and effective company, may argue that it ain’t over yet.)