Did PV America give us a Future Indication of the solar industry?
When I started sending out request for appointments for PV America it was amazing to me how many companies were not attending. The biggest question in my mind at that time was, is this because of the consolidation that is taking place in the solar industry? Was this an indication that the industry was going through some weakness? What was the future going to be if fewer and fewer companies were attending our trade events and conferences?
Although it took contacting hundreds of possible attendees to set 35 appointments it was worth the effort. Many of these contacts decided not to attend or where attending other events. The appointments I set kept me busy throughout the first two days and part of the last day. On the last day after walking through PV America I was shocked to see how few exhibitors were showcasing their products and services.
Valuable traffic versus numbers of attendees
Actually the surprise was more associated to who was not exhibiting than how I perceived the traffic and the value of the traffic. Most important to all exhibitors is who attends the event rather than how many of their competitors are there. One extremely important indication of the health of the solar industry was the number of financial institutions in attendance.
It was pleasing to see that a good percentage of everyone there was either a developer, EPC, IPP and investor. Each group whether developer, EPC, IPP or Investor was either interested in quotes for product, wanting to find more projects they could be involved in and or looking to purchase projects close to shovel ready.
Rebirth of solar like the Phoenix
Just two years ago in the US market it was difficult to obtain financing for commercial, distributed generation, and small utility projects. At PV America I saw great opportunity rising like the Phoenix from the ashes beginning a rebirth of a new industry with greater opportunity for the survivors. The mythical phoenix is a glorious, beautiful bird, one that lives eternally, going through a never-ending cycle of life and death and rebirth. When the phoenix grows old it builds a special nest. The phoenix then stands in the nest and is consumed by fire. From the ashes the new phoenix is born, rising with the morning sun to spread its glorious new wings to live another lifetime.
The solar industry is ever changing
My experience in the solar industry mirrors that of the Phoenix. The difference being that every year for the last 8 years the solar industry has gone through this rebirth. Earlier this year at Infocasts Projects & Money conference the messaging from the financial institutions including conventional and non-conventional money was, "solar would be a big part of their energy investment over the next few years".
With consolidation deciding the companies that are the cream of the crop, we are learning now there some new winners. All these winners are enjoying the spoils of a growing industry where we see the leaders new and old, the conservative and the innovative winning. Most important is many more projects are getting completed than expected. The projects have better margins for all segments including, PV companies.
In my closing comments I suggest if you are in the solar industry you attend Infocasts Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit 2013 on March 18th thru the 21st. If you would like to automatically receive my articles when released please go to the follow button at the link below or the subscribe button above: http://www.examiner.com/internet-business-in-san-francisco/robert-benedict