By: Laura Benold

Eric Daniels, Regional President of Solar Energy North America at Bosch, sat down with us for a conversation about solar energy and why he is participating in the Utility Technology Challenge at TechConnect World.

Q: Why is solar a unique solution for energy issues faced both in the US and abroad?
A: “There are at least 3 fundamental challenges we and those abroad must address in regard to energy planning.  Generally, energy costs have been rising; traditional T&D networks are reaching or are at capacity, and the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere due to our current mix of energy and fuels.  Solar prices have declined significantly due to scale, solar assets can be deployed on the demand side of the meter and so have the opportunity to reduce loads being supported through T&D and are carbon free.”

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing development and adoption of solar?
A: “There are two aspects to development.  One is around technology development relating to the production of solar products.  In some instances, the financial capital required for development is substantial especially in the area of silicon and thin films.  Making such technology bets is risky in an uncertain market and unfortunately this leads to delay in some promising development activities.  From the perspective of system development, codes, permitting requirements, financing remain as challenges for broad and rapid deployment of solar.
In regard to the adoption of solar, the industry at large continues to view solar from the perspective of grid parity.  This is good in the sense that we have moved beyond a focus on efficiency and $/W to LCOE.  We need to push further though and look beyond grid parity to value parity.  Capacity factor, power intermittency and dispatch-ability remain areas of concern in regard to broad adoption of solar.  We at Bosch Solar Energy and our partners are developing new approaches for the deployment of solar that address these issues opening the door to value parity and moving us beyond grid parity.”
Q: What solutions would significantly impact your work with solar?
A: “From a power perspective, system solutions that embrace the fundamental attributes of solar, those that are compatible with intermittency, Time of Day, capacity factor offer exceptional opportunities for the adoption of solar.  Such solutions will enable simplification of permitting, interconnection agreements and generally, lead to broader adoption of solar in ways that dramatically expand clean tech jobs.”

Q: Why are you attending TechConnect World?
A: “I look forward to hearing from and meeting industry leaders and learning more about their development activity as well as vision for the future from the perspectives of their businesses.”