Last Updated on June 6, 2022 by Summer Rain Ursomarso

In the eleventh episode of our Solar Tech Talks, Aaron Bingham and Tiernay Marsh sit down to discuss the ever-changing state of the solar industry. They reflect on EnergySage’s latest report of solar installers’ experiences in 2021 and look to the challenges and possibilities of 2022. Then, they are joined by Mark Abrams, the Vice President of Sales for SPAN, which helps homeowners expand electrification options with its smart panel and smart EV charging options. Finally, Aaron and Tiernay recap the highlights of NABCEP’s 2022 Continuing Education Conference with Catherine Von Burg, the CEO & President of SimpliPhi Power.

In This Episode:

Review of EnergySage’s Annual Solar Installer Survey 2021 Report (00:00):

Tiernay and Aaron review the 7th Annual EnergySage Solar Installer Survey, which shares the 2021 experiences of over 500 US solar installation companies. As a BayWa r.e. Strategic Account Manager, Tiernay is on the front lines of the supply chain constraints and trained labor shortages in the industry over the past 18 months; she has been focused on how BayWa r.e. can help insulate our solar installers from these challenges. With that in mind, she speaks to one of the larger opportunities the EnergySage survey results outline: an extension of the Investment Tax Credit. Should the ITC get a revamp (crossing our fingers!), this would be a huge opportunity for solar installers to expand the industry by partnering with national solar organizations and local governments.

AD/CVD Creating Module Supply Challenges (03:19):

Looking back on the past few months of 2022, Aaron speaks to the anti-dumping petition that is creating severe module supply issues in the US. He references an article (See bottom 2/3 of article) by Canary Media which investigates whether the impacts caused by the tariffs are in line with the goals of the US Department of Commerce. “…petitioning for tariffs of this nature is kind of like friendly fire from within the industry,” he says. This is making it difficult for states to meet their renewable energy goals and for the industry to continue developing. What happens next will be interesting…

Removing Energy Bottlenecks and Meeting the World with Electrification – Featuring Mark Abrams of SPAN (05:35):

Mark Abrams joins Tiernay and Aaron to share SPAN’s mission: bridging the gap between a home’s solar system production and the homeowner’s awareness of their electric use, thereby supporting electrification (and energy efficiency) in all aspects of their lives. SPAN’s smart panel is the first of its kind to allow for control via an app on the homeowner’s phone. And the company’s new SPAN Drive, a smart electric vehicle charging system that allows for throughput differentials to optimize home power use, will be launching soon and available on BayWa r.e.’s webstore.

Reflections on NABCEP 2022 Continuing Education Conference – Featuring Catherine Von Burg of SimpliPhi Power (35:50):

This year’s NABCEP conference was not only a place for premier technical education, but it was also the first time many of us could gather in-person after several years away from crowds. Catherine Von Burg joins Tiernay and Aaron to share her insights as a first time NABCEP attendee and a leader in the industry. Her biggest takeaway: “[NABCEP is] really about exchanging of ideas and… coming together to elevate the entire industry.” She goes on to share how understanding the historical contribution of NABCEP and its leaders brought to light how the organization created a standard of excellence that the solar industry craved. The conference, she says, was a “coming together of young and old” to enjoy the robust, dynamic resources and to explore evolving technologies.

At the conference, Catherine also spoke at the “Women’s and Minorities in Solar” breakfast where she shared SimpliPhi Power’s commitment to worldwide energy security, equity, and resilience through the company’s unique work in energy storage and management systems. The key, she says, is an Integrated Bottom Line (rather than a Triple Bottom Line) that considers People, Planet, and Profit as equal priorities. If those core values are not integrated into a business, an executive team can easily prioritize profit and leave the people and planet in the dust.

(Stay tuned for SimpliPhi Power batteries coming soon to the BayWa r.e. webstore!)

Reflections on NABCEP 2022 Continuing Education Conference from the BayWa r.e. Team (51:15):

For our team, the NABCEP conference was an incredible experience to learn about new products and engage with solar installers and manufacturers. Tiernay was most excited about the product learning opportunities. “The chance to connect with vendors, look at product, get your hands on it, and really be able to interact with it versus listening to a webinar” was invaluable, she says.

For Aaron, he was most impressed to see the [increasing] number of DC coupled devices that are acting in concert on the DC side of the equation for home energy systems. Previously, it was just PV modules and inverters, but they will soon be joined by batteries and EV chargers and create increased efficiencies to help homeowners make the most of every watt their solar systems produce.

BayWa r.e. Solar Systems LLC supplies residential and commercial solar installers in the United States with quality solar + storage components, forecasting, business planning advice, and a community of experts. Visit www.solar-distribution.com to read our industry insights articles and stream our Solar Tech Talk and Solar Town Hall podcasts on YouTube and Spotify. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to stay connected. Ask us about our Split Pay financing program and use our industry-leading Webstore to save time, get gear shipped, and get jobs done! Part of the BayWa r.e. Global family of renewable energy companies.