Supply chain predictability for the future was the main focus of a panel at the Large Scale Solar USA conference in Austin, Texas on June 22. Frédéric Dross, VP of Strategic Development at STS, joined panelists from Horizon Advisory, Raymond James & Associates, and Hecate Energy to discuss the challenges faced by the current US market for solar products.
While supply chain challenges were anticipated in 2020 due to the pandemic, the panelists described how instability emerged in 2021 and continues into 2022 with demand that overwhelms supply and a quickly changing regulatory landscape. The solutions for dealing with this unprecedented unpredictability include expanding domestic manufacturing capacity in the United States, and mitigating import risks by tracing overseas supply chains.
Frédéric, along with other panelists, emphasized that choosing a supplier requires careful diligence. “Requirements on sustainability are now a very common element on every module purchase in the US, as well as in Europe”, said Frédéric, “This is a new requirement, but we are witnessing that the industry is improving. Some sites have already gone through STS audits several times and we see that they have been able to significantly improve their scores. We are happy to see that our audits are helping manufacturers improving traceability”.
Now more than ever, it is important to think about suppliers as partners rather than simply providers of a commodity product.