Every end is a beginning. We all heard that before. I guess it’s not Kodak’s turn to test it for itself, as the company filed for bankruptcy just at the end of last week. The announcement is still fresh, but Kodak already has a back-up plan: going into the solar business by manufacturing flexible solar cells.
It may be more of a practical, economic measure that the company needs to take, since Kodak is in possession of a good deal of film production equipment that it needs to dispose of.
Instead of just throwing it all away or selling it for a cheap price, Kodak has decided to invest it in a new business and partner up with Natcore Technologies, in an attempt to rebound its activity. And it actually has a chance at it, because Kodak, although a newcomer in the industry, has a lot of chemistry and technical competency as a background.
Another advantage that Kodak has is the nature of the solar cells themselves: the nanotubes they are employing generate the same amount of electricity as silicon solar cells, but at half the price.
Again, this is due to the fact that the materials are already there. These are two definite advantages Kodak has by its side in the face of its competitor, Dow Chemicals, which is offering flexible solar roofing shingles.
Unfortunately, the solar industry is in a kind of saturation state: too many solar cells available, which has made prices plummet. Others are not efficient enough. Banks, on the other side, don’t receive loan requests with open arms, because the technology has yet to prove its worth.
It remains to be seen if Kodak will manage to get over this change of fortune. Who knows? Maybe it’s the impulse they needed to get reborn in a new industry.
[via Technology Review]