Solar Energy UK 2015 event roundup

And of course, team geo were there on stand – talking all things solar PV monitoring – during the conference’s three action-packed days. Here’s our Head of Distribution and Partner Sales James Rankin’s roundup of some of the key takeaways from the UK’s largest solar energy exhibition.

Solar industry faces up to post FiT future

It was great to see Birmingham’s NEC buzzing with so many solar industry enthusiasts. We were half expecting the DECC consultation on Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) to have put a bit of a dampener on the event – or at least seen more installers forgo the conference in favour of fitting a few more solar panels before the proposed FiT cuts hit! We were glad to see SEUK much busier than predicted.

That said, we did come across many installers at the show who were looking for new technologies to help support their solar PV sales in a post FiT environment. Clearly SEUK was an opportunity for most to gauge the market, learn about what’s new and to talk to others in the same situation.

Battery storage, battery storage and more battery storage

This year battery storage was the subject on everyone’s lips at SEUK. There’s no doubt that there are customers who will buy into solar PV right now (no matter what the payback model might look like) but for the mass market to adopt the technology, post FiT, we feel that the market needs a well-priced, efficient set of battery storage options. The market doesn’t offer that yet and there needs to be more easily -accessed guidance for installers and end users.

What was clear is that there is a lot of noise in the market around battery storage technology and its current effectiveness as a solution that can support the business case if investing in solar

We feel that the solutions have to be very well tested and meet all industry standards on safety and performance, otherwise, the industry risks a rash of complaints and negative PR which we simply can’t afford at this critical stage.

It’s time to start selling solar differently

What was clear from SEUK is that installers (and manufacturers) will also have to adjust their selling techniques (along with their products offerings) very quickly to adapt to a post FiT world.

Selling the FiT is relatively easy, selling the more complex proposition of storage, self-consumption and longer payback periods will take careful planning and execution

In my opinion, the installers that are able to add the most value around the basic PV package, and communicate it well, will be the ones that ultimately succeed.

SEUK 2015 in summary

It’s a really interesting time for the solar industry and this year’s SEUK really showed that those who want the best chance of surviving in the solar industry need to adapt as quickly as possible to a world without FiTs – both in terms of the type of solar products that they sell and the way that they sell them.

As for us here at geo we remain upbeat about the future and are already looking forward to developing our range of export management solutions to support the residential solar market.