Gary Gerber, Sun Light and Power: Page 3 of 3
Inside this Article
An experienced operations manager presents the logistics for growing your company beyond one crew....
Proper preinstallation planning and well-coordinated crews minimize solar thermal system...
SP: What other emerging products are you evaluating or excited about?
GG: I am constantly looking at the variety of new products and ideas that keep knocking at our doors. Right now I’m seeing an amazing array of “new and improved” PV BOS solutions and mounting systems. I am particularly impressed with Zep Solar. I’ve known the inventor of Zep, Jack West, for years. Jack came to me early on, like Tigo did, and asked me for my frank assessment of the potential value proposition of his invention, which at the time was just a single prototype that he was calling the “Multiversal” mounting system. Again, as with Tigo, I was initially skeptical, but I brought it to my director of engineering, Blake Gleason, to help me evaluate it. In the end, we gave Jack a positive response about potential installation savings, though we couldn’t justify numbers as high as Jack was hoping for. Still, we liked this innovative product and still do. Jack, to his credit, rounded up investors, took Multiversal to market, changed the name to Zep Solar and is now poised to make a huge impact on the industry with his company.
I also see that the ST side of the industry is starting to show some strong innovations. Look for products that simplify and consolidate installations, especially on commercial-scale systems, such as all-in-one packages that include storage, controls, monitoring, pumping and heat exchange. These have been more popular in Europe than in the US thus far, but I think that the ST market is poised for strong growth in the US over the next few years. Products of this type will help standardize the industry and improve overall reliability.
SP: Which of your priorities as president of CALSEIA do you think have national implications?
GG: California has been the national leader in PV since the industry started to grow in 2000–2001, so I consider just about everything that happens here to have national implications. People in other states who are behind the California curve naturally look to California for examples of what worked here (and sometimes what didn’t). Our net metering and declining rebate programs are excellent examples of initiatives that worked well. All of the state Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) chapters are in the midst of signing their first-ever affiliates agreements with SEIA, which are designed to codify and clarify the relationship between the state and national organizations. The intent is that states take the lead on state matters, while SEIA takes the national lead. Right now my top priorities are to complete the implementation of an effective feed-in tariff for California and to enact a state-supported solar financing program. I have no doubt that if we get these efforts right in California, it will pave the way for the other states.