Solar Builder

SEP-OCT 2017

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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RIGHT PLACE AND TIME Why is Seraphim expanding at a time when larger U.S. module players are struggling? "We saw too much risk in actually extending cell manufacturing here," Fuselier says. "We have the capa- bility, but we chose not to in order to hedge against what happened. We were lucky we chose right. We want to let the market float the price of cells and have a diversity of suppliers so we don't get tied to that. Our analysis says there will be a need for about 4 GW of U.S. production to support market demand by 2021." In the three years leading up to its launch in Q3 2016, residential solar was growing, C&I was slowing and utility was steady. The plan to market was to be 30 to 40 percent residential, 30 to 40 percent C&I and the rest OEM agreements and utility. "We had no real belief that the trend would shift heavi- ly," says Steve Ostrenga, VP of sales for Seraphim USA. "But then 30 to 40 percent of the module market globally crashed, and a whole new segment of available markets opened up just because of extreme price dropping." Seraphim suddenly had more utility interest the last three months than they had anticipated for the full year. The company is already prepping for expansion but remains focused on residential and C&I segments. "Developers and EPCs are willing to pay a small pre- mium for module certainty," Ostrenga says. "That's our message to the market. We're going to have them avail- able. They won't get stuck anywhere and you won't be at the whims of the global market." Its location in Mississippi is key here, which allows for quick shipping times to both the East and West coast. "We can get product out quickly, which saves on costs and lets installers schedule more appropriately," Fuselier says. REDUCING RISK But speed is nothing if the product fails. Another crucial service component is Seraphim's PowerGuard insurance policy, which insures the system for the 25-year warranty. So, if the solar coaster happens to claim Seraphim as a victim at some later date, some- thing is still standing behind that warranty. Taken together, these services have caught the eye of Sunnova and Sungage, which both recently began sourcing Seraphim modules. Soon, they might catch your eye as well. Chris Crowell is managing editor of Solar Builder. SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 31

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