As the PV industry scales in size . . .Let’s make a case for a grass roots movement and a local industry

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The news from Solar Power International 2011 in Dallas is that the American market for PV continues to scale in size across all sectors.

Sector 2010 Sector 2010 percentage 2011 projection
Residential

264 MW

30%

19%

Non-Residential

372 MW

42%

27%

Utility

242 MW

28%

54%

Total

878 MW

100%

100%

Source: SEIA/GTM; Solarbuzz

More and more utility-scale is the dominate sector; more and more the non-residential sector is comprised of larger and larger systems completed by project developers; and more and more the residential sector is dominated by large solar lease aggregators that sell their lease contracts to Wall Street tax incented investors.  What about the local installer in local markets?

At SPI 2011, SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) announced that the trade association’s number one political objective in 2011 was a one year extension of the Department of Treasury Section 1603 cash grant program.  This program and the 100% bonus depreciation available through 2011 have helped to skew these market sectors to large players and large-scale systems.

Are these trends to large scale good for the PV industry?  Sure they are!  As an industry, we need all PV sectors to grow and prosper.  And growth in one sector does not need to be at the expense of another sector.

At SPI 2011, I made a presentation entitled:

Small Scale PV for Large Scale Market Penetration

The intent of the presentation was to highlight the inherent attributes of scalable, distributive, grid-tied PV in small-scale residential systems and to make the point that for the PV industry to prosper over a long period, the industry needs advocates – a political base.  Ultimately, that political base is comprised of one homeowner or one small business at a time.

If politics is local, so is the PV industry.

I have attached a copy of my SPI 2011 presentation.

Large Scale PV Market Penetration Through Small Scale 10.11.11 (ppt).

Chet Boortz, CEO

SES21 USA, LLC

[The comments, positions, and opinions stated above are my own and may or may not represent those of SES 21 USA and its affiliate companies.]

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