If the product is viable and the existing power companies take control of it, you can guarantee a system of planned obsolence or degrading parts requiring constant maintenance and replacement schedule. The automobile industry already does this: there are still Model T cars on the road (though few and far between) after almost a hundred years, but fifty years from now I guarantee you won't see a single Pinto or even a 2000 Grand Cherokee or Geo Storm.
The Model T is on the road because of heroic amounts of maintenance. The design is high-wear and low-performance. Modern vehicles require less maintenance, are cheaper to operate, and much more reliable. When not driven stop-and-go style, a good modern car can easily last 200,000 miles with no major surgery on the powertrain, and 500,000 miles is possible with care and a few breakdowns.
Cars are literally designed to break down, forcing you to buy replacement parts or new vehicles after you've given up on the old vehicle.
Last time I checked, the U.S. gov't. mandated warranties on new cars were something like 3 years/100,000 miles, and manufacturers routinely outdo that to attract customers. A car model that is "literally designed to break down" would cost the manufacturer a significant fraction of a billion dollars. The first car I owned was older than me and provided barely adequate transportation. My current vehicle was made in 1987, was poorly maintained by the previous owner, and still manages to run acceptably well. And this crappiness is because I'm cheap: I refuse to spend more than a couple of thousand dollars on a car. If I bought a good car ($15,000 price range), I could have a car made to higher precision than the first spacecraft, and it would last a significant fraction of the rest of my life.
Sheesh. Try to understand market economics: if a fossil fuel power company makes $100 billion/year in business, and a solar power company finds a way that is 10% more efficient, the solar company can charge $95 billion/year and pocket the $5 billion profit. We're supposed to believe that the venture capitalists are running away screaming from $5 billion/year?
Or look at it this way: if solar is really violenty efficient, the first fossil fuel company to go solar will get a market stranglehold and simultaneously blow all the competitors out of the water.
Ditto for the "hundred mile/gallon carburator". If the Exxon (for example) honchos discovered such a thing, they'd instantaneously auction off most of their company, getting tens of billions of dollars in cash. Then they'd auction off the carburator, getting more billions of dollars. Their competitors would be stuck holding the now-worthless pieces of Exxon. Furthermore, the new mini-Exxon, flush with cash, would have be best position to exploit the residual petroleum market. Exxon stockholders would take the lowest loss of all oil company stockholders, and all Exxon honchos would live like kings for the rest of their lives.
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
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