In 2010 the world spent $30 billion on solar panels. By 2020 that figure will be $70 billion, says Korean electronics giant Samsung.

This despite the fact that the solar market has a bumpy ride ahead of it. Germany and Spain, two of the world's biggest consumers of panels, are phasing out incentives for solar as the market matures and panel prices continue to fall.

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Another challenge facing the industry is that supply outstrips demand, leading companies to consolidate — mostly to the benefit of Chinese panel makers and at the expense of U.S. firms (and, right now, Samsung, which also competes with Chinese companies). But Korea's cap-and-trade emissions scheme, which will go into effect in 2015, could give the company a boost, and Samsung predicts a rosy future for the market worldwide.

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