Solar Power World reached out to Jeff Spies, Vice President Business Development, Quick Mount PV and Secretary of NABCEP to ask him 4 questions about what he believes are the keys to being a successful solar contractor. He was on his way to Japan for that country’s version of SPI, but he was kind enough to answer our questions.
Spies: Absolutely! I am a strong believer in the long term profit potential of solar technology. Solar PV and water heating have major advantages over traditional forms of power generation. Our fuel source (the sun) is free, inexhaustible (for couple billion more years anyway!), and non-polluting. The financial benefits are tremendous as a properly designed/installed PV system in the active solar markets produces electricity at a much lower cost/kWh compared to utility power. Add to that the fact that over 90% of the public is in favor of government support of the industry and it is easy to see why so many are bullish on the long term possibilities. However, despite the long term sunny outlook, short term profit potential is challenged by an overabundance of competition, anticipated changes in policy (subsidies, codes, interconnection rules), and the inevitable consolidation of the solar manufacturing sector. In order to realize long term profit, solar start-ups must be smart and position themselves to outlast the less capable businesses that currently clutter the market.
SPW: What changes have you seen in the way installers run their businesses during your career?