The move is part of the company plan to offer its high efficiency Power XT modules to installers on a local and regional basis, rather than by way of a few national distributors, says company CEO Suvi Sharma. “Three years ago, the large national installers detained 70 percent of the U.S. residential market. Today they hold only 30 percent, as ownership eclipses leasing and PPAs,” he says.
Solaria panels can produce 20 percent more power than conventional panels because the company cuts cells into strips and tiles them without soldering to eliminate the dead space on a traditional panel. “While we may charge 10 percent more than standard panel makers, because our panels require less BOS expense for both hard and soft costs, both the installers and the system owners gain substantially,” Sharma says.
“Installer margins are very thin, but we have heard that they can double their profit by using our panels in place of standard panels,” Sharma adds. Solaria introduced the 400 Wp Power XT panels in mid-2016, panels, and has ramped up production since then.
Solaria also manufactures PV cell strips for use in BIPV products, including glass and curtain walls. The company is supplying Asahi with these products in Asia, and supplying Pilkington with the PV components in Europe. In the U.S., Solaria is working with glass and vinyl BIPV fabricators.
Solaria’s PowerSpandrel-350 BIPV product achieves higher energy efficiency than a standard PV panel, in part because the window glass helps capture heat and light absorption that add a 15 percent bump to overall performance for the building functions.