September 2016 issue: Eating away at O&M costs plus more

In this issue:

First Solar’s new Series 5 module is larger and more powerful than most traditional cSi panels.

Technology advances—like dynamic stabilization— will lead to a transformation in the tracking market.

46 On The Cover
Most often, trends in solar are timely innovations or processes used by a growing portion of the industry,usually with the goal of spurring more projects by reducing their cost.

Analysis shows panels mounted away from the equator make more economic sense than you may think.


Inspired by innovation

The industry has never stopped innovating since we started Solar Power World five years ago—even as companies come and go, even as the market swings up and down. In this issue, we look at solar innovators and influencers. The individuals profiled, who were chosen by the heads of leading solar companies, are an inspirational group. They’ve made me consider who and what else I
find inspiring about our industry.

I’m inspired by the people behind the scenes who innovate and influence this industry for the better. These individuals have developed new ways to deploy solar in low income and undeserved communities, stressed the importance of quality solar training and workforce education, engineered innovative data-driven tools for maintaining grid reliability and created new models for communities to sell their excess power at retail value.

We’re proud to provide a platform to celebrate these high achievers, in both this special Innovators and Influencers issue but also on our website every day and during the Solar Speaks Live interviews at the Unirac booth (2117) during Solar Power International. I’m also inspired by the companies and clever engineers developing innovative technology moving the industry forward. For example, they are creating smarter, more powerful inverters that will better serve the grid while reducing costs. Brilliant solar minds are creating higher-voltage components to help squeeze more modules into a project, increasing a system’s performance and profits.

These people are also bringing more innovative storage options to market. You know, we see a lot of Tesla in news headlines. We should pay attention, yes, but companies such as sonnen, JLM, Sunverge and Simpliphi Power are also making waves. Likewise, we’re seeing a lot of lithium-ion, but creative companies are harnessing the advantages of flow batteries. Still, others are clever enough to find the sweet spot to integrate these chemistries with inverters and software to really pack a punch in solar+storage systems.

Kathie ZippBut what good is it to have technology that doesn’t speak the same language? Kudos to the industry members of SunSpec Alliance who are working outside of their day jobs on specifications to develop a “Bluetooth” for the industry—a common programming language so components can talk to each other.

Even on his way out of office, I’m inspired by President Obama’s push for more people to go solar and his support of PACE financing. Right now PACE is geographically limited, but if determined contractors join forces with PACE providers, local governments and banks, they can expand this financing option to more states, carving out more markets for business.

The Solar Power World team writes about innovations and the people behind them in every issue because, ultimately, those leading technology developments and industry improvements will only help your business grow.