At this year’s Solar Power International (SPI), the largest solar trade show in North America, LONGi Solar, in partnership with DuPont and HUAWEI, hosted an exclusive workshop for industry leaders. The workshop gathered experts from both the solar technology and finance fields to celebrate the achievements in North American solar thus far and discuss specific technologies that many communities in the United States have used to achieve grid parity and demonstrate high, reliable return on photovoltaic (PV) projects. The workshop provided further evidence of LONGi Solar’s commitment to driving the evolution of quality photovoltaics and accelerating progress towards grid parity and greater clean energy deployment.
The event began with a presentation by LONGi Group President Li Zhenguo who discussed the evolution of solar over the last five decades. He identified two key stages of solar technology development – PV 1.0 and PV 2.0 – in which solar module technology blossomed from expensive and low-efficiency modules to more economically viable, yet lower quality technological solutions that became pervasive across the United States. Zhenguo explained that our current PV era, PV 3.0, offers the most affordable clean energy to project owners.
Today’s modules deliver high conversion efficiency, high reliability and a high return on investment.
The LONGi Solar SPI workshop brought together leaders from across the solar supply chain to educate the audience on the importance of effective technological procurement and its effect on solar project economics. Speakers included LONGi Solar Technology (U.S.) Inc.’s General Manager Archie Flores, HUAWEI’s North American Smart PV Plant Solutions Vice President Bates Marshall, and DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions’ Principal Investigator Dr. Kaushik Roy Choudhury. The 7th and 8th President of China Renewable Energy Society Shi Dinghuan spoke on the Chinese solar market opportunity, which, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, has 80 GW of installed solar capacity. Globally, there is an installed 300 GW of solar capacity.
American-based journalist and producer of the SunCast podcast series Nico Johnson moderated two lively panels focused on solar technology and solar finance. The first featured prominent U.S. and international developers, from firms including 8minuteenergy, Swinerton Renewable Energy and Mortenson, to discuss technology and explore the economics, energy yield and efficiency of modern technology. Panelists emphasized the value that quality modules provide to a project which include increased energy yield and return on investments. One developer shared that modules represent one-third of his company’s project costs. Panelists urged the industry to veer away from evaluating modules based on the lowest price per watt and instead called for greater consideration of quality metrics like bankability, energy yield and technology warranties.
The second panel evaluated existing solar technologies from a finance perspective. Similar to the first panel of experts, this group of financiers discussed product sourcing and highlighted the importance of due diligence and upstream quality assurance. The panel had representatives from DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, DG Energy Capital, Swift Current, StormHarbor Securities, Marathon Capital and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Throughout the panel, speakers continually emphasized how “materials matter” and underscored the importance of in-depth audits into a project’s technology stack.
LONGi Solar thanks all participants.