I haven’t missed an Intersolar exhibition in Munich since 2012. It is very interesting to see how the exhibition reflects the psychology and the trends of the market.
From the boom times and the rush to build parks driven by subsidies and incentives, to the rise of batteries and now to a market with signs of maturity.
This year I had the opportunity to see the exhibition and take sample of the market as an independent professional and not through corporate filters. I am pleased to admit that signs are very encouraging.
This year Intersolar felt busier, bigger and with more relevant, interesting discussions going on. I felt that we have moved on from looking for the next big hustle, (see battery storage) like a bunch of bootleggers, to having more engaging discussions, looking at providing solutions to problems, and how we can add value to every level of the market.
Unquestionably, the industry still has a long way to go. However, despite constantly discovering new markets and new “El-Dorados” where subsidies are still driving development, we see a new generation of un-subsidised solar developments taking place.
New mega projects in Spain, new big solar developments in planning even in the UK, new national tenders and a revived interest in the Commercial & Industrial market for self-consumption / private wire projects.
I have witnessed in the UK the number of enquiries for new installations exponentially increase over the last 2 months. Whether these installations materialize, remains to be seen. Despite that, it is a fact that local authorities, decrease in capital costs and increases in energy prices have brought back solar onto the centre stage.
Over the past year the market has been concentrating on secondary asset acquisition. This trend will continue without a doubt. Furthermore, we witness many M&A deals in the services sector, but also we have seen services being heavily commoditized.
This market environment has forced people to innovate in order to survive. New technologies and tools like drones and robot panel cleaning have become mainstream. New financial models and propositions have had to be drawn from scratch, new hybrid and technology co-located models have had to be tested out.
In addition the industry now recognises the need to self-regulate and set international standards. Moreover, we start understanding the value that data have and how inefficiently we have been analyzing or compering data thus far.
Looking at the BNEF energy outlook, it is inevitable that we will see a new second phase of large scale solar deployment in already mature markets. It is also inevitable that a combination of new key factors like Power Plant Control systems and comparative data analytics will be crucial for the industry’s success.
One thing is for sure: working in renewables internationally for the last 12 years I have never got bored and there is always something interesting around the corner!
Here’s to Intersolar 2018. I am looking forward for the next one!