Fostering Connections at 16th Annual Joint Forces for Solar Forum

On the final day of Intersolar North America, industry stakeholders came together to discuss the solar industry on both locally and internationally. Hosted by International Battery & Energy Storage Alliance (IBESA), the 16th PV Briefing & Networking Forum took place at the Innovation & Application stage. Brad Heavner, policy director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), presented the trends taking place on the West Coast and discussed the necessary regulatory frameworks to modernize the relationship between utilities and end-customers to “minimize inefficiencies in the market that have high dollar values.”

Executives from across the supply chain congregated for the Executive Roundtable Discussion: Emerging Technological Advancements that Foster Sustainable Solar Deployment. Ram Akella, CEO, Centrosolar America, Inc. discussed market pressures for extreme cost reduction when manufacturing solar products. “We need to look at this holistically,” said Akella. “Developers are the capital source driving down the cost of the system while trying to realize their development fees.”

Holger Giebel, CEO of Mounting Systems, discussed the need for standardization to reduce significant costs incurred to meet new certification processes. Jason Higginson, senior director of marketing of APsystems USA, expressed the challenges facing manufacturers when trying to shed product costs. When it comes to pursuing new materials as a means of product innovation, “it is important to note economics of scale.” Higginson expressed that changing policies and standards are strongly influencing advancements in technology rather than “bright new ideas.” James Spano, CEC, CIC, managing partner of Spano Partners Holding, LLC, reviewed the Solar Roofing Program, an innovative business model that allows commercial building owners to convert the liability of a solar PV installation into an into an operating expense. This off-balance sheet financing mechanism will allow facilities to reduce power rates and power consumption onsite.