Friday, 24 September 2010

Solar – Coming of Age...

Things are really hotting up in solar which poses some interesting challenges for incumbent businesses already operating in the space – manufacturers, distributors, installers ...

Some businesses are going to wake up in the morning and find out that someone ate all the pie ... well product then!

Word on the street is that the smaller installers are suddenly inundated with larger commercial project enquiries – they are struggling with the size, the commerciality and the delivery capability not to mention the cash flow issues that £6m worth of kit will give them – cue sleepless nights for some of these MDs. (shhhh... guys might be time to rethink being a ma & pa shop).

The property, pension fund and shed markets have finally woken up to the fact that there is money to be made in ‘them there’ rooftops and now they want a piece of the action and fast…like yesterday?!! Hmmm doesn’t quite work like that does it?

Now what’s also interesting is that some of them are treating it like just another construction project - “let’s get the boys who did that warehouse roof to do it” ... uh? ... well hello big red flashing lights – it’s just not that simple? Meanwhile roofing guys are gleefully throwing in a bunch of ill thought out quotes in double quick time and will be caught with their pants down .... The naivety of some is mindboggling. They don’t understand payback models let alone the products, O&M issues, positioning, FITs bla bla. Someone will lose a shed load of money – excuse the pun.

Conversely – little installers – WAKE UP – the time to buddy up and JV is now – choose your partner wisely or offer yourselves to the lion fast. When the product supply chain squeeze hits – it’ll be those businesses with the biggest wallets open that will land it.
Meanwhile the sleeping giants of construction look like they have their wallets out on a mini shopping spree, so they’ll be Hoovering up the casualties, or perhaps smugly picking over the remains!

As far as manufacturing is concerned, some are struggling to even quote because they just can’t figure the manufacturing pipeline ... the supply chain issue is again rearing its ugly head. Anyone read anything on rare earths – if not try the Thunder Report.

We are already seeing clients defect from those companies who just can’t supply – quality is all very well but if you can’t get it, get it somewhere else – anywhere else and compromise.
And to cap it all, reports are now coming in that some distributors and manufacturers could have already sold or have reserved all of next year’s product inventory, doesn’t this smack of the same thing that happened in big wind? ... mass-demand in a short space of time ... oooh there’ll be a lot of unhappy salesmen out there (give me a ring when you are ready).

Oh, and I haven’t even touched the utilities with this article – what ARE they doing??? Do they seriously think the double glazing sales approach is going to work? That’s a subject for another day!

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