California-based Paula Mints is widely recognised as one of the foremost experts in the PV industry. For many years she has provided clients with objective, comprehensive industry analysis based on extensive primary research, including her forward-looking understanding of market and technology trends. Her strong background in primary research qualifies her to provide insight into the dynamic PV industry and its emerging trends. She has a decade of experience providing research products and insight about the PV industry. PES talks to her about the state of the industry.
PES: Welcome to PES magazine, for the benefit of our readers who might not be familiar with your area of expertise, can you outline your role within the PV industry?
Paula Mints: I am a market researcher focused entirely on PV – this is all I have done since 1998. My work is entirely based on primary research (contact with one or the other side of the market). I am very lucky to have inherited, so to speak, the practice from my former boss and mentor – lucky because this practice began in 1974, and my database dates back to this point.
PES: Can you explain a little about double counting and how this skews your findings?
PM: Firstly, my work is not actually skewed as I am counting shipments to the first point of sale in the market, whether it is a system integrator, an end user, a distributor or other manufacturers. Well, double counting (in some cases triple counting) magnifies the size of the industry. One megawatt cannot turn into 10 no matter how many times you resell it and reselling is quite common – this is outsourcing and in some cases tolling. Manufacturers with wafer capacity can and sometimes do, send wafers out for processing (tolling).
When the cells come back, everyone counts them as production. So, again, in order to accurately characterise the size of the industry during a specific calendar year I count technology (c-Si or thin film) from the point of manufacture to the first point of sale in the market – wherever that may be.