The biggest trend we're seeing in the U.S. is the development of new tools to help customers overcome the financial hurdles of going solar.
How Upsolar America Sees the Future of the PV Industry
Stephane Dufrenne | Upsolar America, Inc.
Tell us about Upsolar
Since Upsolar opened its doors in 2006, we’ve set our sights on delivering high-quality, reliable PV products and services to meet the ever-evolving needs of a diverse global market. Today, our modules can be found in projects across Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, and our service offerings are expanding all the time. At the heart of Upsolar is an exceptional team, laser-focused on providing forward-thinking solutions and building enviable customer relationships around the world.
How does the company set itself apart in the crowded module market?
Upsolar is built upon a fabless approach to manufacturing, meaning we work with reputable production partners in Asia, Europe and the Americas to bring our modules to the market. This strategic model enables Upsolar to quickly adapt to market dynamics and scale production based on short-term market demands. Because we are not burdened with the worries of equipment upkeep and offloading inventories, we are free to direct our attention (and our capital) toward more important areas, like innovation and customer support.
As a result of our dedication to R&D, Upsolar can offer some of the most forward-thinking solutions in the industry. For example, we’ve partnered with power optimization leaders SolarEdge and Tigo Energy on our smart modules, which enable unparalleled system design flexibility and increase system performance to accelerate customers’ returns on investment.
When did Upsolar enter the U.S. PV market?
We established our American headquarters in San Francisco’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid in 2009. Since that time, we’ve built a strong distribution network and collaborated with countless developers and EPCs on residential, commercial and utility-scale projects across the country. Most recently, we unveiled a 1.3 MW smart array in Maryland, installed by Energy Systems & Installation and optimized by Tigo Energy.
What trends are you seeing emerge in the U.S. PV sector?
The U.S. PV market is growing rapidly, with 4.75 gigawatts installed in 2013 alone – a 41 percent increase over the previous year. This expansion is expected to continue for years to come, supported by falling costs and government incentives at the federal, state and local levels. The biggest trend we’re seeing in the U.S. is the development of new tools to help customers overcome the financial hurdles of going solar. Upsolar recently launched its own financial solution, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Do you see any differences / barriers in the U.S. PV sector versus other countries Upsolar does business in?
Although the U.S. PV market has a promising future, this region suffered more than any other from the anti-dumping measures imposed against Chinese module manufacturers. These measures – which were meant to protect and support the U.S. industry – resulted in increased module prices, which actually slowed market growth and drove some domestic companies out of business. To overcome this hurdle, U.S. developers have started importing modules from other countries such as Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and India.
How is Upsolar leveraging these developments to capture greater market share?
Situations like these are where our fabless model really shines. We responded to the tariffs on Chinese products by ramping up our production at alternate facilities. This swift adjustment enabled us to maintain our presence in the U.S. without significantly impacting our business, and without penalizing our customers.
Will you launch any new products or services for U.S. customers this year?
Upsolar is gearing up to launch a turnkey financing solution in the U.S. market, following the success of similar offerings in the French and Italian markets. By partnering with local banks and installers, we can enable homeowners to access 20-year loans and retain ownership of their PV systems, rather than being locked into a high-interest lease. Our pilot programs in California and Arizona will begin later this year, so stay tuned for additional updates.
What can we expect from Upsolar America in the years to come?
In short: progress! As always, we will work to improve our offerings based on customer feedback and market trends. Globally, we will continue to build our presence in both established and emerging markets and double down on our efforts to educate new audiences through community engagement and social media channels. We have made great progress as an industry in recent years, but there’s a long road ahead—and the Upsolar team is up to the challenge.
Upsolar develops and produces high quality solar PV modules, offering a secure long-term investment for customers around the world. Bolstered by a commitment to product R&D and support from its flexible manufacturing platforms, Upsolar ensures top-tier performance and reliability while maintaining an asset light approach to its business. All Upsolar products are backed by industry-leading product and performance guarantees to ensure superior performance over the lifetime of each system. Upsolar also champions environmental sustainability through key sponsorships and environmental initiatives. To learn more about Upsolar, its products or its sustainability efforts, please visit www.upsolar.com.
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