Category: Intersolar 2015

08/07/15

  12:25:00 pm, by Laurel Hamilton   , 736 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Events, Intersolar 2015

Intersolar North America 2015 - Recap

Intersolar 2015Three weeks ago the Run on Sun team took San Francisco by storm for the annual Intersolar events and exhibition. In the solar industry products are changing incredibly fast. Intersolar and Solar Power International (September 14-17th) are the two most important events for industry experts to come together and be able to put our hands on the latest and greatest products while establishing relationships with potential partners around the world. 

Show us what you’ve got!!

Enphase boothAs we mentioned in our Intersolar 2015 Preview blog, we were really on the prowl in the exhibition hall. Number one on our list was to find viable storage options as our client-base is quickly shifting to time-of-use rates and smart storage will be a huge asset to enable more local consumption of energy at the right time, as well as to reduce those high demand spikes for commercial clients.

Enphase Energy, of microinverter fame, actually had their own booth at IS this year, a first for them, and their emphasis was on their modular storage solution - which they call the AC Battery - made possible by their next generation, S-Series microinverter - which is bi-directional.  Since the system sits on the AC side of a solar installation, it is compatible with any solar system whether it uses Enphase microinverters or not.

Enphase readily acknowledges that the economic proposition for local consumption is not really present in the U.S. yet, which is why they are first rolling the product out in Australia.  However, as the present discussions before the CPUC demonstrate, net metering is changing and soon.  When it does, the economic case for systems like the AC Battery will become compelling.

Second task on our list was to find out what panels LG would be offering and when we could start getting them on rooftops. Since LG didn’t have a booth at IS, hints toward panels with higher efficiency and higher output were verified by a meeting with our distributor, Baywa r.e. (formerly known as Focused Energy).We are now looking at 310 and 315 Watt panels available in September. This is up from the 305’s currently available and 260’s which were available this time just one year ago!

Our last mission as we weaved through the multitude of flashy products on display was to find better options for racking. While we have no intention of finding an alternative for our pitched roof racking company, Everest, our ballasted flat roof racking experience has left something to be desired by our installers. And the growing interest in solar carport systems means we need a good partner we can rely on to develop beautiful high-quality structures. We looked at several new products and talked to some great people on this front. We will be vetting these companies and discussing the applicability of their options with our clients over the next few months. 

Solar “Networking"… aka PARTIES!Sungevity SBOB

Any good industry gathering has GREAT parties, and the solar community definitely delivers in this department. The Run on Sun team enjoyed rubbing elbows with solar celebrities, new and old friends at various social events throughout the week. Laurel ate breakfast and discussed gender-specific solar challenges with WISE (Women in Solar Energy). The lunch hour Tweetup hosted by @SolarFred and put on by our friends at @Enphase, @RECSolar and @Grid was a blast. Of course the Solar Summerfest put on by CALSEIA and the Solar Battle of the Bands were not to be missed either. Who knew solar companies had such amazing musical talent?! The battle of the bands was more packed than we’ve ever seen, the only painful side to an ever expanding industry. Laurel’s favorite, the awesome funk band from Sungevity rocked the house and took home the winning title. If you attended either event you probably spotted Run on Sun’s Jim, Laurel and Josh making full use of the dance floor! No one on the RoS team will deny…we DO like to have fun. 

Solar Summerfest

KicklineThe Run on Sun team cutting a rug at Solar Summerfest!
Thanks Kendra Hubbard for the pics!

What’s Next??

Its hard to believe that in just over a month we will be boarding a local train to Anaheim for Solar Power International, “North America’s largest solar trade show". Beyond what we saw at Intersolar, our distributor Baywa r.e will have a presence as well as our favorite solar panel manufacturer: Life’s Good Electronics. We’re looking forward to more exciting product announcements and connecting with friends once again! Hope to see you there!

07/13/15

  08:00:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 872 words  
Categories: Energy Storage, Intersolar 2015

Intersolar 2015 Preview

Intersolar North America 2015 (IS) kicks off this week in San Francisco, and as we have for the past several years, Run on Sun will be there to learn, to mingle with the rest of the Solar Tribe, and yes, to party!  Here’s our preview (with more to come after the show).

Coming Attractions?

One of the biggest attractions of IS, the exhibition floor is crammed with every solar-related product and service imaginable (and some you wouldn’t have believed until seen!).  Here are some of the things we are actively looking for as we roam the floor (and it really is a “we” this year as Laurel and Josh will be attending as well!)

Craving for Saving (Energy)

Craving saving energyWe have been writing about, and longing for, viable energy storage solutions for as long as we have been attending IS. While the hype around storage has only grown exponentially since, the number of viable products still remains depressingly thin.  Will this be the show when that finally changes?

Number one on our cross-your-fingers list is the previously announced, but not yet available, storage offering from Enphase Energy.  Given that we have a whole lot of Enphase systems in the field, and a client-base that is rapidly shifting to time-of-use rates, the Enphase product, if it is a product, would be huge.  While the timing would surely be right, our anticipation is amped-up by the knowledge that Enphase will have a booth at IS (a first for them, to our knowledge).

Interestingly, neither SolarCity nor Tesla is listed among the exhibitors as of this morning - I guess we won’t be seeing any Powerwalls on display.

Bigger, Better, Soon?

Beyond storage, manufacturers are always touting their bigger, better products at the show and this year should be no different.  Of particular interest in that regard is the potential release of a slew of new, larger module options coming from our favorite solar panel maker, LG.  We have seen the hints on this front for sometime now as the CEC approved list of LG modules includes units as large as 325 Watts - compared to the LG 305’s which are presently the largest thing we are seeing in distribution.  So will we now have multiple options for higher efficiency, higher output panels from LG?  And if so, when and at what cost? 

Meanwhile, Enphase appears poised to announce a new microinverter product, the S280 (just in time to pair with those higher power LG modules?), as it too now appears on the CEC list.

We know that we have clients eagerly awaiting these developments - watch this space!

Rack me Up!

Racking solutions continue to be an area where the cleverness of the design rarely survives the realities of the roof.  We are constantly exploring new approaches for difficult problems such as viable ballasted systems (that will be accepted by AHJ’s like LA City and County) and structure suppliers for the growing interest in carports, pergolas and the like.  While we have worked with a number of companies in this area, we are still on a quest for solutions that not only look good on paper, but that our installers can grow to love.  We will be prowling the floor of IS with that as our number one must have.

We should note, however, that we remain quite pleased with Everest Solar as our pitched roof solution, and that view was enhanced by the long-awaited release of their UL-2703 listed end and mid-clamps.  The inspectors who have looked at that system on the roof have been quite impressed with it, as are we.

Party Time

It wouldn’t be IS without the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and, hopefully, make some new ones amidst the Solar Tribe.  After all, these are people who work every day to make the world a better, cleaner, more sustainable place.  They are a great bunch of folks and we are honored to be counted among ‘em!

First up is the Tweetup, hosted once again by solar celeb, Tor - @SolarFred - Valenza, with backing from @Enphase, @RECSolar, and @Grid.  This has turned into an annual, and eagerly anticipated event, and we thank in advance Solar Fred and friends for making this happen.

Did you see what they had at XYZ booth?Then comes Summerfest, a huge gathering of folks with lots of different types of food and drink and great views of the downtown San Francisco skyline.  Summerfest is a great place to exchange views of what was on display on the exhibition floor, and to plot strategy for the next day, as in, “Did you see what they had over at the XYZ booth?  It was amazing you have to check it out!”

But it is Wednesday night that really crowns the show.  Starting with the great afterparty/pre-SBOB party thrown by Impress Labs - thanks to Solar Curator Tom Cheyney for hooking us up - we are able to get warmed up for the main event - the Solar Battle of the Bands!  For the first time ever we are heading into the show knowing where are ducats are coming from - thanks to Jessica over at Solar Power World for the connection!

It is going to be a busy week, and we look forward to learning a lot.  Look for our recap of the show next week!

Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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