… how come solar power may be stymied by a worldwide shortfall in key ingredient poly-crystalline silicon? Despite the growing momentum for alternative power generation, the Financial Times quotes analysts citing “unsustainable” price increases of 500% over 2004 levels in some “isolated” cases.

Global production of solar batteries grew by 47 per cent by volume during 2005, and the pace is believed to have quickened in 2006. One industry estimate suggests that between 2007 and 2009, the global polysilicon supply shortage will be about 9,000 tons a year, or about a fifth of current worldwide capacity.

So much for those reassuring supply and demand lessons in ECON 101.

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