Dan Shugar

Shug Speaks

Solar Power International 2017: NEXTracker to Celebrate Market Leadership with Full Slate of Activities and Offerings

September 8, 2017

By Dan Shugar

This year’s expanded Solar Power International (SPI) show in Las Vegas promises to be one of the biggest SPIs yet—and a milestone event for NEXTracker. We will be showcasing NEXTracker’s latest innovations at our booth, such as the market availability of our NX Flow integrated solar-and-storage system, the TrueCapture smart energy yield enhancement offering now undergoing final field testing across hundreds of megawatts of solar projects, and the brand-new custom tracker-mounting solutions designed for the First Solar Series 4 and Series 6 thin-film PV modules.

In addition to celebrating our market leadership—it’s the second SPI in a row that we’ve held the number-one position on GTM Research’s PV tracker global rankings—several NEXTracker leaders will participate in conferences and panels at the industry event. On Monday, our software VP Allan Daly joins a panel titled “Using Data to Analyze System Operation and Failure” at 9:30 am. NEXTracker CTO Alex Au and storage expert Josh Weiner discuss NX Fusion Plus and its holistic approach to DC-coupled storage at the Storage Central stage at Booth 1235 at 1:30 pm. I participate on an executive panel called “Halving Large Scale Solar Costs by 2030: The Evolution of Cost Savings in Solar Generation,” starting at 4 pm. On Tuesday, Marty Rogers, NEXTracker’s VP of global asset management, joins panelists during PV magazine’s 6th Quality Roundtable from 3–5 pm, presenting NEXTracker’s philosophy, “Designing for Reliability from the Ground Up.” 

We have witnessed the tragic events of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the past few weeks and have seen the devastation caused by high winds, flooding and storm surges. Last year, Hurricane Matthew hit nine separate NEXTracker systems in the southeast. Fortunately, our design ensures all critical components—such as motors, drives and controls—are sealed and safely engineered more than 36 inches above grade, well out of harm’s way. These systems all reliably survived with zero damage, despite intense winds and flooding. Advanced diagnostics, controls and wind stowing protected the trackers, and our Digital O&M capabilities helped ensure long-term, reliable operations with predictive maintenance functionality. 

Extreme weather and climate issues are just some of myriad challenges we face. Policy and politics also come into play, sometimes in negative ways. As many of you know, the U.S. solar industry is grappling with the self-serving actions of two foreign-owned companies, SolarWorld and Suniva, together with the hedge fund SQN. These companies are trying to manipulate U.S. trade policy to create a bailout under a Section 201 petition and seek the implementation of a protectionist tariff—an action that would result in the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. solar jobs.

I joined other solar executives on August 15 to offer testimony against the petition in Washington, DC. I posted my ITC testimony on LinkedIn, and have seen a huge level of engagement, both in readership and comments. I’ve sent a subsequent letter to the ITC commissioners making them aware of the overwhelming response to the post—and the nearly unanimous consensus among the commenters against the 201 petitioners’ arguments. With the initial Section 201 decision due to be announced soon after SPI on September 22, I remain cautiously optimistic that the commissioners will reject the petition.  

While our industry has done a wonderful job with technology, cost reduction and scaling, we need to improve our efforts in communications. Fortunately, SEIA and AWEA have joined forces through A Renewable America (ARA) to complete a national jobs tour to spread the word about the half-million high value jobs we are creating. We are honored to support a short presentation for ARA, featuring SEIA President/CEO Abby Hopper and the Wind Energy Foundation’s John Kostyack, at our Booth 4331 on Tuesday at 5 pm. I hope to see you there for this important event. Here is a quick video to demonstrate the stories we’re unearthing:

No SPI would be complete without a healthy amount of socializing. Please join the NEXTracker team at our booth for a cold one during our happy hour on Tuesday from 4–6 pm.

See you in Vegas, baby!