Most enjoyable improvements in photo voltaic power relate to improved photo voltaic panel efficiencies or software program options to enhance the enterprise case of adopting photo voltaic, however Esdec exhibits that saving money and time on set up of photo voltaic methods can present an enormous boon to the photo voltaic business.
Set up of rooftop photo voltaic panels can require one to 3 days, with labor occasions averaging 75 man-hours and related labor prices consuming up about 10% of complete system prices. Whereas enhancing the speed at which photo voltaic photovoltaic (PV) panels can convert daylight into usable power will proceed to make such installations extra worthwhile, set up prices don’t sometimes obtain the identical diploma of consideration regardless of their vital contribution to upfront capital prices. As such, any innovation that may reduce set up prices will likewise lower the payback interval earlier than residential and business photo voltaic techniques turn out to be worthwhile and make photo voltaic power accessible to extra individuals. Such efforts embody the objectives that Esdec hopes to realize by lastly coming over to america.
Esdec, a European chief in photo voltaic rooftop mounting, has been operational for 14 years, having approached 2 gigawatts (GW) of complete put in capability because the main market share holder in a number of nations. Featured as their preliminary U.S. product providing, the FlatFix system makes use of “self-levelling baseplates” and makes use of “revolutionary design [to] allow speedy meeting, permitting business tasks to considerably scale back set up occasions in contrast with different techniques available on the market.” Esdec made a splash with this product at Photo voltaic Energy Worldwide (SPI) 2018, the location of their U.S. popping out celebration.
The CEO of Esdec’s U.S. operations, Bart Leusink, graciously agreed to reply some questions I had about Esdec’s historical past, what lastly brings them to the U.S. market, and the way their merchandise differ from different mounting and set up techniques already commercially obtainable:
Esdec’s Debut at Photo voltaic Energy Worldwide
Matt Chester: Thanks a lot for agreeing to talk with me in the present day. To start out firstly, what’s the origin story behind Esdec as an organization?
Bart Leusink: Esdec was began by a gaggle of rooftop photo voltaic installers who turned more and more dissatisfied with photo voltaic mounting and racking methods and the extent of customer support– or, extra precisely, the shortage of constant service– obtainable on the time within the Dutch residential market.
Chester: You used Photo voltaic Energy Worldwide (SPI) 2018 as your platform to formally launch into the U.S. market. What was the reception on the convention? How excited was your staff to have such a big stage on which to debut?
Leusink: Frankly, the present exceeded our expectation. We had excessive hopes going into SPI, as we consider we’re bringing an revolutionary business and residential mounting system to the USA, providing installers an easier, quicker-to-install answer in contrast with what’s presently obtainable. Nevertheless, as with all debut, we have been additionally a bit nervous as to how the U.S. photo voltaic group would reply.
Throughout the three days, we acquired extra leads and better visitors on the sales space than we anticipated. Our business rooftop system, FlatFix, generated incredible suggestions from installers, distributors, and builders who have been very captivated with its clickable meeting, aesthetics, and sturdiness. Among the many most memorable quotes have been “The product speaks for itself” and “I’ve by no means seen something like this.”
Individuals additionally liked the movies we created that helped inform our story, as properly. SPI was a good way to start out our U.S. journey and we will’t wait to construct on it within the coming months.
Chester: Not solely that, however you have been chosen because the official PV mounting system for the SPI Sensible Power Microgrid outdoors the conference middle. How did you land that? What sort of alternatives did that present?
Leusink: Sure, that was a superb alternative for us. We have been approached by the organizers of SPI who knew our FlatFix product was very fast and straightforward to put in. It ended up being a really perfect approach for us to show what our product can do in a real-life use case. My colleague and I, who are usually not installers, have been capable of set up the 27-panel system adjoining to the conference middle in simply over an hour, which exhibits how fast and straightforward it’s to put in. The microgrid powered over 90 cubicles by means of SPI.
A two-panel FlatFix system was additionally featured on the Sensible Power Microgrid Market contained in the conference middle, and I introduced our merchandise on the official MarketPlace, bringing additional visibility to FlatFix and Esdec.
Esdec Altering the U.S. Market
Chester: Esdec has lengthy been a pressure on the European market, however you’re solely now getting into the USA. What felt proper about getting into the market at this second?
Leusink: It’s true that Esdec has established itself as a pacesetter in PV roof mounting methods in Europe. Since 2004, we’ve delivered almost 2 GW of methods and labored with a number of the largest international company manufacturers to ship business photo voltaic methods in Europe. We’ve all the time recognized there was loads of room within the U.S. photo voltaic marketplace for an agile, customer-centric innovator like Esdec to assist installers and EPCs (Engineering, Procurement and Development) speed up their set up velocity and enhance their backside line with a dependable, confirmed world-class product. And our expertise at SPI affirms this perception. Individuals on the conference had nice suggestions on our system, and the success of the product over 14 years within the business offered U.S. guests with proof that we’re a dependable associate.
Chester: Are there distinctive features to installations in america in contrast with in Europe that require an adjustment in how your merchandise are made or marketed?
Leusink: The important thing distinction between the U.S. and European photo voltaic markets is the varied laws and code compliance necessities for mounting photo voltaic panels, that are extra stringent in the USA than in Europe. We included these necessities into our specifically designed U.S. techniques. We now have UL1703 Class A fireplace score on all merchandise and are additionally UL2703 listed for bonding, grounding, and loading. This provides us added credibility and helps us stand out as a brand new firm within the U.S. market.
Chester: Often when new and thrilling photo voltaic improvements are reported, they’re associated to the effectivity of panels or the worth of photo voltaic cells. What’s it you assume Esdec mounting options will convey that may excite individuals?
Leusink: Esdec is just not an abnormal mounting options firm. We’re pushed by innovation. In contrast to different PV mounting producers, Esdec combines large-scale R&D, patented superior know-how, and buyer enter into speedy product improvement. We 3D print most of our prototypes and use light-weight space-grade plastics and self-repairing metals on our elements.
I discussed earlier that Esdec was based by installers who have been unhappy with the methods and customer support inside the business. Since then, we’ve got labored intently with installers to determine enhancements for our methods and their key factors for residential and business installations. It’s this collaboration that evokes our subsequent era of mounting system improvements.
Final month, we opened our innovation middle at our Netherlands headquarters in Deventer, taking our installer collaboration to the subsequent degree, with the aim of delivering probably the most dependable, highest high quality mounting techniques available on the market.
Chester: Inside the mounting options area, what do your merchandise convey to clients that they haven’t seen earlier than? What’s the differentiator?
Leusink: Esdec brings many key differentiators to the U.S. market. FlatFix options self-leveling baseplates in contrast to something obtainable to U.S. installers. Our one-tool design is totally distinctive, with built-in snap-on attachments that make set up fast and easy. FlatFix additionally supplies a singular cable administration strategy that installers at SPI beloved.
Add to that our versatile setup: single or twin; south; east-west; or north-south; and a 20-year guarantee. Collectively it’s an entire package deal that U.S. installers have by no means seen earlier than. We’re additionally one of many few corporations that provide each business and residential, flat and pitched roof options. This whole suite of merchandise is one other differentiator.
Chester: Among the many benefits that Esdec touts are the velocity and ease of set up. Are you able to quantify how a lot time and, extra importantly, cash could be saved on a typical set up through the use of your techniques?
Leusink: FlatFix has been proven to considerably scale back set up time on rooftops throughout Europe, in some instances as much as 40%. On one current undertaking within the Netherlands, 400 panels have been put in utilizing our system with simply 4 individuals in solely 4 hours.
We’ll quickly be launching our calculator on our U.S. web site that permits installers and builders to see simply how a lot time and price our mounting system can save them, based mostly on the precise specs of their undertaking.
Chester: Are there any misconceptions about your merchandise or photo voltaic mounting typically that you simply’re wanting to clear up? Something individuals don’t know however they need to?
Leusink: As we’re new to the market, and nearly all of U.S. installers haven’t come throughout Esdec earlier than, there aren’t any present misconceptions concerning the firm in america. One false impression we shortly quashed for any customer to our sales space at SPI, although, is that we’re like each different mounting system provider in america.
For extra info on Esdec’s continued developments, go to their web site for normal updates and comply with them on LinkedIn.
Concerning the writer: Matt Chester is an power analyst in Washington DC, studied engineering and science & know-how coverage on the College of Virginia, and operates the Chester Power and Coverage weblog and web site to share information, insights, and recommendation within the fields of power coverage, power know-how, and extra. For extra fast hits along with posts on this weblog, comply with him on Twitter @ChesterEnergy.