It's been a year of both continued expansion and mounting challenges for the global solar industry. RenewableEnergyWorld asked solar industry executives to share their thoughts and insights on one burning question:
David Gudmundson, CEO, GreenVolts, Inc.
The most difficult issue facing solar this past year has been the precipitous drop in pricing, driven by an over-supply of commoditized PV modules with little to no differentiation. This has led to a market where companies are left to compete solely on price, which ultimately can stunt long-term growth. To continue the cost reductions critical to achieving and surpassing grid parity, we need to transition from the low-efficiency, commodity-based products of today, to higher-performance, functionally integrated systems that will secure solar’s place in the power generation landscape.
Integrated solar systems have the power to add value for all stakeholders across the solar value chain — operators, managers, financiers, end users. No longer will customers have to worry about piecing together a system from a laundry list of suppliers. This paradigm shift in the market will give customers something they’ve never had before — an entire solar system, specifically designed so that all components work together optimally, with built-in energy management software providing sophisticated monitoring and control, available from a single provider.
In addition to integrated systems, we see another trend on the horizon: the emergence of large power generation companies in the solar market. One recent example is ABB, with others expected to follow. These companies can potentially provide power and interconnect equipment, automation, EPC and support services that can result in a complete sun-to-grid solution.
As a result, we expect to see an industry transformation where new leaders will emerge with broad portfolios, expertise in every aspect of power generation, and strong balance sheets. These new players have the “power” to fuel long-term growth by providing complete solutions, bankability, and the proven ability to execute at the scale that the solar industry needs for the future.
David Gudmunson is the CEO of GreenVolts and has a proven history of building high-performance businesses across a number of industries, including networking, optics, telecom, government and defense. His experience spans the globe in the technology and engineering fields, for companies such as JDSU, Cisco Systems, and Boeing.
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