Solar will do to utilities what Twitter did to media

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It took 24 years from internet’s start for Twitter to arrive and kill media industry’s business model. Solar will do same to energy.

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Here’s a new graph that we hadn’t seen before until Bloomberg New Energy’s Kobad Bhavnagri presented it at the Australian Solar Council conference in Melbourne on Thursday.

It shows how the business model for traditional media companies was slowly eroded by the arrival of the internet, and finally trashed as the arrival of Twitter in 2006 created a major inflection point.

Bhavnagri said the same thing is likely to happen to the electricity utility business model.  “It took 24 years between the founding of internet and the collapse of revenue,” Bhavnagri noted. That crucial year,  2006, coincided with the founding of Twitter and the emergence of social media as a dominant form.

“One thing for certain is that things are rapidly changing” in the energy market, Bhavnagri said, noting that behind the metre solar PV was virtually unstoppable, echoing the thoughts of many other independent analysts.

bnef twitter


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  1. Professor Ray Wills 5 years ago

    Agree with the analogy but don’t accept it was the founding of Twitter that was the trigger – there’s a lag between release of technology and the impact. I would argue it is the browsing platform that is key, and the arrival of Twitter simply a symptomatic component. While the first smartphones were released in 1997. But viability of internet services on mobile phones was limited until data prices came down and network providers started to develop systems and services conveniently accessible on phones. The significant adoption of smartphones really got up in 2007 with the arrival of BlackBerrys in large number, peaking at 80 million in 2012. In 2013 there were 200 million devices running Apple’s iOS7. As of end of 2013 smartphones are 55% of mobile sales… see more analysis at

  2. BroSheffieldBrotherton 5 years ago

    I too agree with the analogy but see smartphones as the dominant final executioner. What I can’t conceive is any significant points of inflection in the electricity sales curve for fossil-based utilities. It was all up for nearly a century and is probably all down from a few years ago.

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