Sunday, October 19, 2008

AZ Solar Contractor Sizes Up SD Conference

Mark Holohan, president of Code Electric in Phoenix, Arizona, said last week's Solar Power International 2008 conference in San Diego showed the incredible globalization of solar power.

"European [solar] companies are expanding to America and there's an increasing supply coming from the Far East," said Holohan, whose company is a leading installer in Arizona. He said the state of the global economy and Europe's reduced feed-in tariffs will slow solar's growth from the recent 40% but he still projects worldwide growth at 30%. The recent extension of the solar investment tax credit in the U.S. will have a lot to do with it.

"Also, the tax law has changed to include [for profit] utilities so solar could see a sizable increase from power producers, as well," said Holohan. He sees significant growth for the Arizona solar market spurred by last May's decision by the state Corporation Commission (which regulates Arizona's public utilities) to support more renewable energy funding.

Holohan noticed a marked increase in thin-film products, especially in amorphous silicon. Holohan was this writer's mentor when he ran UniSolar's residential sales program in San Diego beginning in 2002. (UniSolar is still the country's largest manufacturer of flexible amorphous silicon PV.) After successfully administering the project for two years, he was promoted by UniSolar to commercial sales director for Southern California. Among other installations, he sold the 1MW PV laminate installation at the General Motors western supply depot in Rancho Cucamonga, California and a 700kW PVL system on the Long Beach Convention Center, site of Solar Power International 2007.

Holohan's offers advice to homeowners and businesses contemplating installing PV systems.

"Solar [as an investment] is still the right thing to do," he contends. "Incentives are dynamic so always take action to secure them for yourselves. It doesn't make sense to wait for a breakthrough because the incentives for solar are always more dynamic than the technology."

In the Phoenix area, Holohan can be contacted at


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