Having worked hard on our new products for 6 months in a row it was time for a well-earned vacation and recharge for the introduction of DustIQ and RT1 at Intersolar Europe. The first is a real breakthrough in the technology to measure PV panel soiling and the second is a very practical sensor to monitor the efficiency of commercial PV rooftop installations.
Since starting at Kipp & Zonen and my first encounter with solar energy in 2015 the industry has been booming. Although important strides have been made, the industry continues to struggle with some basics as it develops into maturity.Many practical issues such as “how should I wire my solar panels across the plant?”, “how many pyranometers do I need?” and “when should I clean my solar panels?” are still not well answered. For me, this last question particularly struck a spark of inspiration; there seemed to be room in the market for finding new and simple solutions.
As you probably know, Intersolar 2017 takes place from 31 May to 2 June, at the Messe München Trade Fair Centre in Munich, Germany. This annual event brings people and markets together under the guiding principle, "Connecting Solar Business". As the international platform for solar technology, it reflects the dynamic development along the entire value added chain in the areas of photovoltaics and solar thermal technology. It is the largest exhibition for solar energy in the world and the expected number of visitors for 2017 is over 40,000.
Last week of March marked the 4th annual Solar Asset Management conference sponsored by Solarplaza held at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco. Many of the most active asset owners, project developers, EPCs, developers, and monitoring and data analytic companies attended. My biggest take-a-way from the show was that the US solar industry continues to be on a path of growth, and we are now entering the maturation phase where project performance details, strategic maintenance, smart asset management, and accurate irradiance monitoring are of utmost importance. Project financiers are extremely comfortable with this asset class; and optimizing performance is next on the list to tackle.
In emerging economies provision of electricity at a local level is a major problem. How to reduce the expensive import or transport of fossil fuels? How to provide energy locally, in an environmentally clean and sustainable manner? How to do that based on a cost-effective distribution network?
These are examples of the issues that can be resolved by installing solar generating plants as a source of energy. Just imagine a remote village, way off the grid and with limited transport connections, that is in need of affordable power. Suddenly, these philosophical issues become real.
I recently visited such a place in Thailand, where a remote rural community growing rice in paddy fields was equipped with a solar energy power plant. The beautiful setting is illustrated in the picture!
Let me start with a quick introduction. I joined the Kipp & Zonen team recently as the General Manager for our North American business. My experience over the last thirteen years has been in the global power generation business – mostly solar and wind, sprinkled with a bit of thermal power generation experience. The passion and vision has always been solar power. During my time at GE, I had the opportunity to be a part of, and lead teams that touched more than $25B of successful renewable energy projects.