Oliver Janssen, CEO of eIQ Energy, blogs from this week’s Intersolar North America. Day 2: The show floor’s still busy, BOS is a cost target, California’s market is in finance limbo, and what’s partly behind the lively atmosphere.
by Oliver Janssen, CEO, eIQ Energy
July 14, 2010 – It’s Day two at Intersolar and things are still humming. While some trade shows have a hot first day and a lull on the second, there’s no sign of that at Intersolar this year. Our booth was just as busy today, and the show floor is still mobbed. A good sign for everyone involved!
We’ve been hearing from module companies that the electrical balance-of-system (BOS) component of solar arrays is emerging as a primary focus area for cost reduction and efficiency improvements. This is due in part to the fact that so much of this work has already been done on modules and inverters, and in part to the creativity of vendors, who are doing some very innovative work. The wiring companies are making the installer’s job easier, with custom-built cable harnesses, while also building in system electronics, combiner boxes, and other components that would otherwise have to be custom-wired on site.
On the financial side, we’re getting a sense that the important California market is in something of an uncertain period, with the ground shifting on things like subsidies and renewable energy credits. It’s understandable that the agencies involved will need to constantly assess their programs — but from a bankability perspective, it makes it very challenging to calculate the ROI of a solar project. These conditions inevitably lead to an excess of conservatism and lower volumes, as financiers have to assume the worst. More clarity, please!
On a lighter note, we’ve been impressed by the fact that several companies are serving beer in their booths – bottles and cups are in evidence on the show floor, even at 11 am, which may help explain the lively atmosphere. We were disappointed, though, that the Spanish booth did not have the World Cup trophy on hand.
More to come tomorrow, as Intersolar 2010 enters the home stretch.