Solar

SPI: The growth of solar alliances

Another common theme around this year’s Solar Power International (SPI) show is vendor cooperation and alliances to help wring out costs across the value chain, particularly on the BOS side of the equation, notes EIQ’s Michael Lamb.

By Michael Lamb, VP of business development, eIQ Energy

October 21, 2011 – Although not entirely new, one trend that’s been gaining momentum at this year’s Solar Power International (SPI) show is companies across the solar value chain forming alliances to deliver complete solutions.

Zep Solar, for instance, announced this week that it has licensed its Zep Groove technology to several additional solar panel manufacturers — including Sharp, Hanwha and SolarOne — that plan to integrate Zep’s panel mounting technology into their panel frame designs.

If you’re a distributed electronics company, or a racking system company, it only makes sense to align yourself with larger players that can provide access to their customer network and, hopefully, design you into their upcoming projects.

I’m not suggesting that panel makers need to vertically integrate by acquiring a full array of captive balance-of-system technologies. But in order to wring the last cents out of the BOS costs, additional cooperation does make sense.

We are clearly in a new phase of solar power development where we need to be looking at everything possible to make solar a viable power source even without the incentives.

We had a great week at SPI with productive conversations and fruitful meetings. We look forward to continuing the momentum until we all meet again next year in Orlando.


Michael Lamb is VP of business development at eIQ Energy.