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Listen Up: The Emergence of Solar Industry E-Commerce

One way to tell that an industry is growing up is when global marketplaces emerge. Buyers and sellers of PV products of all shapes, sizes and specifications are actively transacting business on six of the seven continents (my apologies to Antarctica). With all this diversity, it's gotten too complicated to keep track of the details. So it's no surprise that dedicated PV industry e-commerce solutions are emerging.

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The Solar Exchange is the first company to tackle this plethora of products, buyers and sellers head-on. Think of it as a dedicated e-Bay for the solar industry. Essentially, the Solar Exchange conducts auctions for both direct materials (cells, backsheets, junction boxes, etc.) and finished goods (modules, inverters, etc.). Part of the challenge within the solar industry is that components and finished goods are traded worldwide — so having a central marketplace makes it easier to match buyers and sellers at the right price.

Our guest on the Energy Show this week is Gary Mull, CEO of the Solar Exchange. They went "live" in September, and currently list a wide range of products. As the number of transactions and products increase, Gary's goal is to reduce worldwide supply chain costs — and thereby help to reduce component and system costs. If you're interested in the future of solar e-commerce, don't miss this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Read more renewable energy news here.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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