Last year, PES met Bryan Ekus of the newly-formed International Photovoltaic Equipment Association, a major trade group aiming to meet the needs of PV manufacturers and suppliers. We caught up with the busy Managing Director 12 months later to see how things have progressed and whether establishing a trade association where none existed previously was still, as he put it last time, “no easy feat.”
The International Photovoltaic Equipment Association (IPVEA), founded in May 2008, is an independent organisation of manufacturers and suppliers of photovoltaic (PV) fabrication equipment and related raw materials used in PV ingot, wafer, cell (crystalline and thin-film), and panel manufacturing. The association’s member companies (www.ipvea.com) represent the wide spectrum of equipment and materials including crystal growth, diffusion furnaces, glavanics, laminators, laser systems, materials handling, metallization, printing, process integration, solar simulators, substrate handling, testing, vacuum systems, waste gas abatement, wet chemical systems, and related materials and professional services. PES magazine talked to Bryan Ekus about the past, the present and the future of the industry.
PES: Welcome back to the magazine. It’s been almost a year since you spoke about the formation of the IPVEA – how are things progressing?
Bryan Ekus: Things are progressing very well. We currently have 70 member companies.
PES: How much has the economic instability of recent months affected your members? Is confidence returning?
BE: The economic market has slowed CAPEX (Capital Expenditures), but that is not to say that the investment in the PV manufacturing industry has stopped. Many projects are still ongoing or being scaled differently to meet the availability of investment funds. Our members remain very optimistic for the future.
PES: President Obama has turned out to be a big proponent of renewable energy. How has this policy shift affected your members in the United States?
BE: It is great to have a President that is thinking beyond fossil fuels. Our members as well as the industry believe that the United States has the potential to be the largest market for PV.