Nanosolar has made great progress as it has faced and apparently surpassed many barriers so far. However, they are still facing the most important barrier, which is the old electric power paradigm centered on central generating station.
Nanosolar’s product is in essence a distributed generation product, but as there is a strong barrier against the development of the resources of the demand side its first applications are supply side applications.
Michael Power writes a clear message to characterize the old business and the new business we are entering in the fifth technological revolution: "Electricity consumers becoming part-time producers – “pro-sumers” – and utilities shifting from “energy-making business” to “energy-moving business”…
There is a new paradigm that has emerged in the past two years, as an extension of research work done originally at MIT, where utilities shift to become just transportation utilities that do the actual movement for generators and customers (not just consumers anymore). Under the new paradigm a set of Second Generation Retailer - 2GR do the actual business transactions under competition. That paradigm is electricity without price controls (EWPC). To break down the barrier faced by Nanosolar and many innovative companies, the main mission of 2GRs is the development of the resources of the demand side.
For more details, please take a look at the EWPC article Demand Integration is NOT the Province of Politics. Under the article there is a set of comments which were posted under another Kevin Bullis TR Editors’ blog, explaining the EWPC market architecture and design paradigm shift , while also responding davel’s question “why is it important to slash energy use” to additional questions posed by frankellim.
This comment was posted as Old vs. New Paradigm under Technology Review Editors blog, post "Big Solar News: Nanosolar is shipping printed solar cells," by Kevin Bullis.