Strange reporting in solar market

December 07, 2017 by Denis Pombriant

I collect a lot of information from the Internet about sustainability issues including the photovoltaic market (PV), geothermal energy, wind power, carbon offsets, and more. Generally the articles I find are well written by experts and there’s a high degree of transparency in the coverage. But the latest crop of news about the PV world leaves me shaking my head. It makes me wonder if the solar market went from sexy to pure fluff over night. Some examples would help.

Example one is, “Photovoltaic Combiner Box Market Growth Rate by Applications 2017,” by admin (I am not making this up.) a single paragraph illustrates my concern,

“In this report, the Photovoltaic Combiner Box market worth about X billion USD in 2016 and it is expected to reach XX billion USD in 2022 with an average growth rate of X%. North America is the largest production and consumption region in the world, while China is fastest growing region.”

Now, everybody makes mistakes and we sometime release news before it’s fully baked. Major journalistic outlets would be loath to do so but online, it’s more common than you think because journalistic standards are looser.

Other pieces seem to have been written in a language other than English and although they aren’t wrong, they sound a bit off in things like subject and verb agreement, for instance,

“List of the top Photovoltaic (PV) Tracker manufacturers in worldwide, this companies list will help you to select best Photovoltaic (PV) Tracker among domestic and imported.”

I get the feeling that some of these pieces are translated by machine. They’re pretty good but the unease I feel reading them makes me wonder why anyone would buy the underlying products.

Then there was this headline, “Enerray delivers the solar rooftop to the worldwide Us e-commerce giant” which I can only assume refers to Amazon though the whole article manages to tout the accomplishment without ever mentioning Amazon. The first sentence is, “Last july (sic) Enerray completed the photovoltaic system on the rooftop of the worldwide Us e-commerce giant new logistic center located in Passo Corese (Rieti province, Center Italy).”

Often small companies providing cutting edge products and services to major corporations ask for some acknowledgement such as a reference in a press release, I get that. But bigger companies carefully guard their brands and exposure and don’t give permission easily. Too often such a mention is viewed as an endorsement, especially by the smaller vendor, which is the problem.

While none of these flaws is fatal, they do illuminate a dicey situation in which the technology is ahead for the marketing and sound business practices. The solar industry like any emerging group needs to show basic competence in getting the small details right before it can expect to grab customers and jump onto an exponential curve.

The mistakes I’ve seen in solar don’t seem to be part of other sectors that I cover, at least not yet. But they give an impression of snake oil sales and that’s to be avoided any time.




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