Post-ITC Planning: Key Questions for Everyone in the Solar Value Chain

The solar industry got a holiday gift this year in the form of the extension of the ITC. But we aren’t entirely out of the woods. Numerous threats to NEM and rate cases at dozens of utilities across the nation stand to fundamentally change the value of solar. Already, Nevada has retroactively eliminated its NEM program as its solar industry was just getting off the ground.

Always remember that solar is a highly political space. Look no further than Stephen Lacey's blow-by-blow analysis of how the ITC was extended for just how complicated the politics of solar have become. 

Take some time this winter in what is hopefully a slightly slower season for your company and do some planning. With the ITC extended for five years with a reasonable step-down, clearer thinking can prevail about pursuing growth in a more logical manner. 

Read more.

Posted on February 3, 2016 and filed under analysis.

Data Sciences and Building Analytics, Meet the New SunShot Catalyst Winners

Winners of December 2015's SunShot Catalyst Demo Day pose with their prize money and SunShot staff.

Winners of December 2015's SunShot Catalyst Demo Day pose with their prize money and SunShot staff.

This last December, I attended the second round of pitches for SunShot Catalyst Demo Day in Philadelphia, where 19 teams competed for seven $30,000 prizes with an opportunity to claim an additional $70k prize in the future. The pitches were judged by a panel of industry and DOE experts and included moderated questions from audience members as well. 

Unlike the last Catalyst Demo Day, this pitch day included solutions for the solar industry and for improving energy efficiency in the built environment.

Read more about the winners and their unique solutions.

Posted on January 11, 2016 and filed under eventwrapup.

Solar Women shine at US Solar Market Insight

pictured: Meghan Nutting (Sunnova), Pamela Cargill (Chaolysti), Elena Lucas (UtilityAPI), Heather Werner (OneRoof Energy), Melanie Kelly (SunShare)

pictured: Meghan Nutting (Sunnova), Pamela Cargill (Chaolysti), Elena Lucas (UtilityAPI), Heather Werner (OneRoof Energy), Melanie Kelly (SunShare)

Greentech Media put on their US Solar Market Insight conference from Nov 2-4. Gone this year was the "Utility Death Spiral" statement on the lips of many panelists in 2014. This year, USSMI was more focused on the looming threat of the end of the ITC, the high cost of residential customer acquisition, and the talent gap. 

Unfortunately, very little airtime was given to the threats that changes to NEM, utility rate cases, and other localized issues play- underscoring again the huge differences between the economies and concerns of utility-scale developers and NEM-dependent commercial and residential solar developers. 

Greentech Media did a good job ensuring diversity on their panels and many great women represented their companies. 

Posted on November 10, 2015 and filed under eventwrapup.

Resilient Company Culture is Everything in a Growing Industry

mature_supply_chain.jpg

We’re growing up as an industry. This isn’t just about technology anymore. The technology has occupied its place in a more sophisticated value chain, one that includes more robust and better-defined distribution, dealer, and services channels than five or six years ago. Each of these layers is beginning to operate more like one would expect in more mature industries, providing value-added experiences and services to the next customer in the value chain in support of the ultimate outcome – an operating solar PV system. 

The solar industry has moved beyond simply geeking out about equipment and specs. No longer does knowing the integration of components signify someone as being at the pinnacle of sophistication. In fact many aspects of solar design, at least in residential solar, has continued to become a commoditized practice, often outsourced to lower and lower bidders and automated away with increasingly more sophisticated design software.

What this new landscape requires from us is deeper understanding of how we fit in to delivering the specific outcomes asked of our part of the value chain as individuals, parts of the organizations we operate in, and as organizations.

Read on for key questions to ask yourself about the health and maturity of your organization.

Posted on October 12, 2015 and filed under operations.