1. What has GreenVolts been up to the last few years?
Over the past couple of years, GreenVolts has re-focused on developing our business, relationships with our customers and improving our system. The system has been completely redesigned, and the result is —the only complete and fully integrated solar system in the world. We have been operating quietly in order to prove the system and gain customer momentum with successful project installations. Then, this past December, we celebrated the commissioning of a 1 MW project in Yuma, Arizona, cemented our partnership with ABB, closed our Series D funding and publicly launched the company. So far in 2012, we have announced the commissioning of a 288 kW project for Beneficial Insectary, a partnership with Independent Solar Developers to help further our reach in the agricultural space and the completion of a 496 kW project with West Hills Construction for the McKinley Children’s Center.
2. How has the company changed from its initial launch?
We have a new integrated product, customers in the field generating solar power and a new leadership team dedicated to providing the lowest cost solar energy in the world. The GreenVolts solution has been designed and precision-engineered for better performance, high manufacturability, quicker installation, and easy maintenance.
3. What makes GreenVolts different from others?
Our approach changes the entire solar experience. We offer a complete system, including modules, trackers, inverters, the leading energy management software in the industry, AC and DC disconnects, networking and DC wiring, all designed from the ground up to work together optimally. Our integrated system eliminates the need for a custom, expensive engineering design for every project. With GreenVolts, customers get simplicity, elegance, and precision in a utility-scale solar system that delivers higher performance and richer energy management than anything else in the world.
4. What advantages does the GreenVolts approach offer? Who is your primary customer and what size of installation is the most cost effective for them?
Our modular system scales easily for distributed loads, such as irrigation pumps on different parcels of land, to large, centralized loads for commercial, industrial, and utility customers.
Key features of the GreenVolts system include:
Increased efficiency: Advanced CPV modules are 2-3 times more efficient than those of traditional silicon or thin film modules
Greater energy yield: High-precision, two-axis, intelligent tracking system accurately follows the sun, allowing solar modules to operate at peak efficiency throughout the day, resulting in greater energy yield than single-axis or fixed-tilt PV
Integrated inverters and motion control: Bi-polar, transformerless inverters, working with the tracker motion control, continually seek the maximum power output for the system
Intelligent Solar Information System (ISIS): This sophisticated energy management software provides monitoring, diagnostics, reporting, and system control
Increased durability, decreased maintenance: Weather and solar monitoring stations at each site ensure that the system is stowed in a face-down position during harsh conditions, as well as at night to reduce soiling, dust, and condensation
Sophisticated solar information network: All subsystems and components are interconnected for communications, including GPS and Wi-Fi for intrasite status, and Internet communication via secure VPN
Comprehensive customer care: GreenVolts provides a single point of support over the life of the project, from sales, to planning and design, to installation, to operation and maintenance
GreenVolts’ solar system is ideal for utility, commercial and industrial customers, the agriculture industry and public sector applications.
5. Where is the most active part of the country at this time for new solar installations?
The southwestern United States—most of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada—includes some of the sunniest regions in the world, making it perfect for solar installations.
6. Compared to static PV installations, how does your system compare when ongoing maintenance costs are considered?
We have done a lot to make operation as easy as possible. For example, using our ISIS energy management software, operators can monitor and control our systems remotely. Because of the high degree of integration, detailed information at the sub-string level is available, allowing for excellent performance analysis so that potential problems can be diagnosed before failures and maintenance can be scheduled more efficiently.
Our panels stow face down at night, something that is unique in the industry, which reduces soiling by 50% or more. The panels can be moved for easy washing, and during rain can be positioned for a natural cleaning.
In addition, GreenVolts provides single-contact, system-wide customer support and an unparalleled 20-year total system performance warranty which saves our customers time and money on maintenance.
7. What is the ABB funding and relationship going to do for GreenVolts?
As part of the Series D round, ABB has helped enable GreenVolts to meet the growing market demand for our CPV system and scale our operations accordingly. With this investment ABB adds to its solar power plant portfolio and can now offer turnkey solutions for concentrating photovoltaic power plants. ABB will sell, market, and support the GreenVolts system internationally, and ABB’s worldwide presence and support provides an outstanding opportunity for GreenVolts to grow in other geographical regions.
8. What are GreenVolts’ plans for the future?
We believe that CPV will grow faster than the overall market over the next several years and are very excited about our potential, especially in high DNI areas like the southwestern United States, southern Italy, Australia, the Middle East, and South Africa. We will continue to gain performance from component improvements, like in our solar cells or our optics, and from design optimizations across our entire system. As the only provider of a complete, fully integrated system, we have a unique approach that gives us more control to meet customer needs, and meeting the needs of more customers is our most important plan for the future.
Vice President of Strategic Development, Co-Founder
As a founding member of GreenVolts, Eric wrote the original business plan and has been integral in securing the company’s equity funding. He led the development and negotiation of the company’s first major utility projects, including systems in Pacific Gas and Electric, Arizona Power Service, Tucson Electric Power Company, and Southern California Edison territories. Eric currently leads the company’s project finance and corporate strategy activities.
Before founding GreenVolts, Eric worked for Greenrock Capital, a private equity firm investing in alternative energy projects, where he performed due diligence on wind project portfolios. Eric started his career in engineering, designing and testing rocket engines as lead analyst in the Propulsion Group of Space Exploration Technologies.
Eric has an MBA, and an MS in mechanical engineering, both from Stanford, and a BE in mechanical engineering from The Cooper Union.