Canadian Solar makes a play for re-engineering solar economics

Alan King, Canadian Solar, discusses the design rules for Intelligrated Power PV panels, debuting at Solar Power International. King also comments on the US funding strategy for solar deployment/advances compared to other countries’ plans.

October 12, 2011 — Canadian Solar will unveil the first panel in its new Intelligrated Power line at Solar Power International in Dallas, TX, October 17-20. Intelligrated Power PV panels will eventually address three market segments: commercial, residential, and utility.

The first product is a commercial AC system (3-phase). Following that, a residential AC product will be launched (single-phase) during 2Q12, and an optimized DC panel that can work in both commercial and residential installations will hit the marketplace in late 2012.

In the podcast interview below, Alan King, VP and GM of US sales at the company, discussed the design ground rules — no single-point of failure, no rapid-wear devices, single-sided board construction, resistant to solder joint fatigue — that were applied to the new product line. ?We had to be able to warranty the panel and the mounted inverter (i.e., the integrated inverter) for 25 years,? said King. The company believes its combined 25-year warranty approach is part of re-engineering solar economics and that it will result in lowering system costs and increase marketplace adoption. King compared the Canadian Solar approach to a typical string inverter that is warranteed for 10 or 15 years, after which the owner can purchase warrantees at additional cost, or will have to factor in the cost of replacing that inverter over the 25-year life of the system.

During the interview, King also addressed a contentious topic in the solar industry today. Comparing solar policy in the US to the rest of the world, he observed that other countries tend to have programs that cover an entire country, rather than the myriad of programs at state and local levels that exist in the US. ?These (individual) programs are wasteful, they add to the cost of the system, and generally make it more difficult to deploy solar in the US,? said King. Though he acknowledges that the solar industry has enjoyed double-digit growth, about which it is difficult to find quarrel, he would rather see federal support given to deployment of already successful solar technologies, rather than picking specific solar technologies to fund. ?We have to take a look at the successes the rest of the world has had and analyze them and ask, Why can?t we use them here??

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