Trends from Australia’s #1 Solar Power Conference
Those following on SunWiz on Twitter (@WarwickSunWiz) were kept up-to-date on all the announcements, best services, and innovative products at ATRAA and Clean Energy Week 2011. Here’s the wrap…
Innovative was the name of the game this year. The Australian solar conference has officially evolved from a place where panel and inverter manufacturers simply displayed their wares, into a conference that rewards strategic differentiation. Here’s the trends that could be seen:
Australia’s Influence upon the solar world was evidenced by the release of the SMA SunnyBoy 1600TL inverter, launched first in Australia, and sized to meet the Australian Market. Solco expanded their fleet of power optimisers to include Tigo, which works with any inverter (unlike the Solar Edge). Ethernet-enabled inverters were mentioned by CMS, though nothing beats EnaSolar’s inbuilt wifi.
Also seen were many rack-in-a-box systems, which followed Laros Technology’s demo of Montavent’s technology last year. Lock Solar had a roaming demo of their rack-in-a-box, though not to be outdone was Trina, who demonstrated the benefits of their Zep Solar License. Solon displayed their tiled roof-integrated PV and their metal roof adhesive solar laminate.
Also notable were a couple of energy monitoring and control devices. ecoiQ by Ecovation provides kiosk and user interface to monitor a solar, mains, and third circuit – plus portfolio view for solar installers. Meanwhile demandIQ (also by Ecovation) offers users (and networks) the ability to remotely control deferrable load – perfect for improving network management and for increasing PV penetration. Auzion‘s power management product will also be interesting upon its official release.
Competition is certainly hotting up in the wholesale sector, with incumbents RFI, SolarInverters, Conergy, SolarJuice, Solco, etc having their space encroached on by upstarts. SolarFund has released an iPhone app that allows scanning of barcodes, GPS-logged photos, and compatibility with their STC-creation portal. We look forward to their STC ‘Price Protect’ offering. Greenbank also has an android-enabled mobile portal interface which will hopefully improve STC compliance and waiting times. Australian Solar Buying Group showed off its (under development) CRM that will support its installers, while Solar360 looks to provide market intelligence and business support to its dealer network.
Meanwhile SunWiz launched its Market Intelligence suite, comprising ClearView (STC Market Intel), STC Entities Direct, PV Market Insights, Solar Hot Spots, Business Profitability Analytics, and the PV Sales Tool which was shown off during Warwick’s presentation on the new economics of Australian PV. This suite can assist PV companies to obtain a better STC price, track PV trends across Australia and locally, target resources, and increase conversion: ideal strategic resources for the period of ongoing STC devaluation.
BP’s stand was multi-dimensional, Conergy demonstrated exercise bikes, and Trina’s sponsorship of F1 racing was unmissable due to RFI/Trina’s F1 slot car racetrack, complete with grid-girls. Meanwhile veterans of the solar industry, SunWiz and SolarBusinessServices distinctive sunlounge hosted furniture, solar apparatus, and magazine clippings dating back to the invention of photovoltaics.
Presentations from ATRAA are now available on the CEC website. The presentation made by Stowe Australia and SunWiz on the design and implementation of the Metricon Stadium Solar Halo (Gold Coast) was well attended, and was recognised as Australia’s best grid-connect solar power system > 10kW.
For photos of many of these and more, follow @WarwickSunWiz