More than 250 people from every region of the United States and nearby islands are convened for an inaugural, two-day of SolarWorld’s authorized installers, where they are reviewing the latest product, manufacturing and marketing advances in support of high-reliability solar solutions from SolarWorld, the global U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years.
The summit meeting has brought together many representatives of the company’s large but still fast-growing core of authorized installers, which have more than doubled in number since 2011. The authorized installer program provides all of the elements that installers need to offer complete solar solutions to their customers, including co-marketing, lead generation, design services, financing options and turnkey systems.
The summit, titled “Stronger Together,” is showcasing the SolarWorld-led network’s strength amid industry turmoil as well as its commitment to domestic manufacturing and high technological performance, innovation and reliability.
Paula Mints, founder and chief market research analyst of SPV Research, offered an overview of world industry trends on Thursday. Mints, who has studied the solar industry for 16 years, said aggressive pricing beginning in 2009 has squeezed manufacturers’ margins, limiting money for research and development as well as quality controls. The pressures have resulted in business failures among U.S. and European manufacturers, Mints said. A healthy solar industry needs diversified regional markets and domestic manufacturing, she said.
Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas, the company’s commercial unit for the Americas, bestowed SolarWorld Globe Awards to three authorized installers, who in and of themselves demonstrate the breadth and depth of support for SolarWorld within the U.S. market. Kilkelly honored:
• Pacific Energy Co., based in San Luis Obispo, Calif., for its loyalty to SolarWorld’s U.S. operations since 1980.
• Louisiana’s Gunn Solar Energy Systems for its high customer satisfaction and its success marketing solar solutions in the U.S. state with the second lowest electricity rates.
• Pacific Solar & Photovoltaics for coming the greatest distance – 5,688 miles from Guam – to attend the summit.
Kilkelly also honored Water Missions International, a South Carolina nonprofit, for its use of the company’s solar panels to power clean, safe water systems within impoverished communities in the developing world.
Attending authorized installers gathered Thursday at a Portland hotel. Today, they are convening at SolarWorld’s U.S. manufacturing operations in Hillsboro, where they are taking in-depth tours of the facility, the largest solar-manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere.