Arturo Duhart
Co-Founder
EXEL Solar
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View from the Top

State-Of-The-Art Technology Greenlights Solar

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 17:43

Q: How is EXEL Solar positioning itself to provide the best PV system solution available?
A: Our business revolves around PV integrators, companies dedicated to providing solar energy solutions to the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Our positioning to offer an attractive solution is rooted in our solar and wholesaling experience. EXEL Solar’s founders have been present in Mexico’s solar distributed generation market since 2008, making it the longest-serving participant in the sector as the country launched distributed generation in 2007 when it enacted the Interconnection Contract Model for Small-Scale Solar Energy. Our early entry provided us the time required to build a clear visibility on what final users were looking for at a time when solar energy was still costly compared to fossil fuels. A thorough CAPEX and OPEX analysis is a primary aspect of each product we integrate into our portfolio; we add strategic brands and technologies to showcase the best solutions available on the market. The second important aspect is education. In a usually price-driven market, highlighting our selection process and the comparative advantages of the products we offer our clients over the long term, covering heavily-technical data with a user-friendly coating, is critical when fostering a transition toward solar power. The importance of this factor alone justifies our courses and webinars, which are available to our clients.
Q: How does EXEL Solar advocate for both solar power and e-commerce solutions?
A: On one hand, we make the case for solar power by advising our clients on the best technology and components available to build reliable and long-lasting PV systems. On the other hand, most of EXEL Solar’s clients are young entrepreneurs looking to launch their solar SME. These people are more inclined to using e-commerce platforms. Parallel to that, we also provide more traditional ordering services, either by phone, e-mail, and even WhatsApp. We continuously strive to provide the most complete and informative tools so our clients can count on a streamlined decision-making process, bypassing the need for that additional phone call for information and enabling them to close their solar projects at a quicker pace.
Q: What is your assessment of Mexico’s PV value chain?
A: Manufacturing a solar panel involves an intricate process of extracting the silicon, slicing the wafer, applying the relevant chemicals and integrating them into a module. To date, no one in Mexico covers the entire process, while an overwhelming majority of the market’s solar panels come from China, the latter being determined to dominate this niche. Chinese solar panels have reached a degree of quality, competitive pricing and state-of-the-art technology that is hard to surpass. As such, Mexico is at a disadvantage and should prioritize on other solutions rather than local assembly or actual manufacturing.
Q: How can Mexico match state-of-the-art technology with equally optimal PV system installations?
A: There is a regulatory gap that remains to be filled as the Official Mexican Norm NOM-001 on electricity installations falls short and the absence of an official certifying entity remains prevalent. The creation of this entity should be carefully planned to avoid inhibiting the market’s growth. It should have the capacity to absorb demand from the large number of SMEs that would seek to obtain these certifications to further stimulate Mexico’s distributed generation market. Failing to do so would almost guarantee a market bottleneck, to the detriment of distributed generation’s scalability potential, added to the requirement of a streamlined interconnection procedure. One way to go about this is by using technology. Conducting interconnection proceedings online would be a big step forward. We are open to working with CFE to provide this online open-source platform for the sake of the sector. Regarding certifications, we need a combination of factors involving free data availability, as well as rigorous and thorough certification exams to improve Mexico’s installation quality standards.