Our platform is focused primarily on the commercial scale market, though we have some utility scale opportunities and are evaluating the residential sector. We have the capabilities to implement rooftop, ground mounted or parking canopy systems.

Panasonic Eco Solutions North America

Jim Doyle, President | Panasonic Eco Solutions North America

Tell us a little about your role in the company and what you were doing before this?  

I manage a diverse team of professionals that is focused on delivering true end-to-end solutions to the commercial and utility scale markets.  These solutions include energy production with our solar products and expertise, energy efficiency with products such as our lighting control systems and finally our growing portfolio of battery storage solutions.  Prior to this position I managed Panasonic's portfolio of enterprise solutions (commercial solutions) that covered the education, sports and entertainment markets. 

What made Panasonic take the leap into Solar Energy and how did the decision to take over the Sanyo presence come about?  

The recent acquisition of SANYO was a major statement about Panasonic's interest in and commitment to the solar and battery storage sectors, but also the broader eco space.  The Eco Solutions group is rapidly growing and is expected to drive company growth in the future.  Panasonic has made a commitment to become the leading green innovation company in the electronics industry by 2018, which is the 100th anniversary of the company.  

Panasonic is new to the solar industry, although Sanyo was in the industry for more than 30 years. How will Panasonic leverage what Sanyo has done in the past to make a stronger foundation for the company's solar business moving forward?  

We have leading module manufacturing capabilities but are broadening our solar platform in North America to also include project development, implementation and financing. This is primarily because Panasonic has the benefit of being one of the largest and most capable electronics manufacturers in the world.  Our global portfolio of products and solutions goes far beyond consumer electronics.  Panasonic has been providing lighting, HVAC and other energy-efficient products to the market for some time, as well as integrating solar projects in Japan via our engineering company.  So, it was not a stretch to merge SANYO’s deep capabilities in solar and battery storage to create something special.  However, the true benefit comes from bringing all the pieces together - Panasonic and SANYO’s great technology and expertise, combined with a host of new services like construction financing and EPC services that can create true end-to-end solutions for our customers.  

You recently announced end-to-end financing with Coronal Management LLC. You also previously announced projects with Renewable Social Benefits Funds. Can you explain what Panasonic's objective is with these programs and how the financing program benefits both Panasonic and your customers?

In the North American solar market, arranging project financing is often the most difficult aspect of project development.  Project financial structures are complex and require various types of investment partners, including those who can monetize tax credits.  Furthermore, trying to arrange financing from different third-party investment partners for each project is a cumbersome and inefficient process.  Our relationships with Renewable Social Benefits Fund and Coronal Management provide a captive financing solution for solar assets that are developed, implemented and maintained by Panasonic.  This has a couple of important benefits for our platform.  First, it allows us to present a true end-to-end offering to our clients, who increasingly expect a solar partner to provide a financing solution.  Second, it drives more efficient sales and project development processes in that we collaborate with the same investment team on every opportunity and have a clear sense of the project investment parameters.  We feel that the combined Panasonic-Coronal platform offers a compelling and differentiated solar offering in the marketplace.

Panasonic already seems to have some good projects under its belt, such as the Sonoma Raceway and the Conrad Hilton Foundation. You also announced that you will be aligning with Macerich now for some rather large projects across four states. What is Panasonic's role in creating these partnerships, i.e. what does Panasonic bring to the table and how is that beneficial to your partners?  

As stated, we are bringing an entire end-to-end solution to our customers.  For Macerich, we developed the project, arranged financing through RSBF, provided construction period financing as well al EPC services and will provide O&M support throughout the life of the system - a one-stop-shopping experience for Macerich with a trusted corporate partner.

For the Macerich projects, will you be using your own solar panels or another company's? If not Panasonic panels, why choose another company's panels when you already make them in-house? How does that connect to Panasonic's future in both the solar industry and the renewable energy segment?  

At our heart we are a solutions company focused on building solutions that are optimized for each customer's specific needs.  In many cases, like at Sonoma Raceway, the industry leading performance of our HIT® solar panels was required to produce high output with limited space.  For Macerich, we are sourcing panels from a Tier 1 third-party partner based on the price and performance needs of the projects.  Again, we are focused on what is best for each project and customer, not just how to move our products quickly.  

Besides Macerich, are there any other new projects that you have recently completed or are looking to complete in the near future? What types of projects is Panasonic aiming to be involved in?

Our platform is focused primarily on the commercial scale market, though we have some utility scale opportunities and are evaluating the residential sector.  We have the capabilities to implement rooftop, ground mounted or parking canopy systems.  We work across multiple client segments including large corporations, municipalities, school districts, colleges and universities, local utilities and government agencies.  We prefer to work with clients who have both a strong credit profile and control a portfolio of assets across the country or regionally.

How do you see the solar industry evolving over the next 5 years and into the future?  

The solar industry is very similar to many other industries that boom, contract and then stabilize.  We are investing now to take advantage of the contraction phase since we are one of the largest players in the industry.  Our broad technology expertise, scale economies and balance sheet will allow us to grow as others contract or even exit the market.  We can provide customers with a level of comfort that few other industry players can provide.


About Panasonic

Panasonic Eco Solutions North America is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC). Eco Solutions develops and provides customized and integrated technology-based systems solutions, including the design, implementation and financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, for customers in a number of industries including sports, entertainment and education among others, in both the U.S. and Canada.
For more information about Panasonic Eco Solutions North America, please email ecosolutions@us.panasonic.com or visit them on the web at:

Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources and protect our environment through the company’s Eco Ideas programs. The company is committed to becoming the electronics industry's leader in green innovation by its one-hundredth anniversary in 2018. In the 2012 Interbrand Annual Best Global Green Brands ranking, the Panasonic brand jumped four spots to number six: http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/Best-Global-Green-Brands/2012-Report.aspx

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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