Mike Nager, Marketing Manager – Phoenix Contact
While costs of solar energy components, most notably the module, have fallen in recent years, the installation costs in the U.S. remain stubbornly high. Standardization of mechanical and electrical components to simplify and shorten the amount of time to install systems is needed to bring the total cost of installation to levels that are required to continue growth. Installation costs in Europe are much lower due to such standardization.
Much confusion exists in the market because of incompatible standards between the requirement dedicated by NEC codes, Underwriters Laboratories standards, and the IEC product and installation requirements. Standardization would lower component costs by providing manufacturers greater economy of scale production, enhanced reliability of those components, and remove confusion from the installation process resulting in faster and safer installations.
A natural market for PV installations is providing power for remote applications. As advancements in semiconductor technologies steadily lower the power requirements for electrical devices, solar module battery charging systems become more technically feasible. Applications include a myriad of supervisory and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for monitoring greenhouse gases, water quality, and condition monitoring of isolated equipment. Others include traffic control systems, signs, and security systems.
Mike Nager is the industry marketing manager for Phoenix Contact focusing on renewable energy systems. He has published and presented topics at a variety of industry events and is interested in exploring product and business development activities in this sector. He is based in Harrisburg Pa.