Join us Tuesday, February 7th at 2:00 PM for “Factors Influencing Product Innovation in Solar Markets,” an Energy and Environment Discovery Themes Seminar with Ardeshir Contractor, Founder and CEO of Kiran Energy, IMR Executive in Residence, and Ohio State Mechanical Engineering alumn. This talk will focus on both product innovation in solar energy and innovation in sustainability financing, and will be of interest to those working in materials science, energy policy, clean tech, entrepreneurship, global sustainability, business and finance, and innovation.
Energy and Environment Discovery Themes Seminar
Ardeshir Contractor, Founder and CEO, Kiran Energy
Factors Influencing Product Innovation in Solar Energy Markets
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
2:00 – 3:30 PM
Mason Hall, 2nd Floor Rotunda, 250 West Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210
Reception immediately following program
Registration: Discovery Themes Survey RSVP
Co-sponsored by the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme focus area, Institute for Materials Research and Fisher College of Business
In 2010, Ardeshir Contractor raised $80M from three US private equity investors and a joint venture with First Solar to build Kiran Energy – a solar energy utility at the forefront of India’s solar energy market. In its journey, the company examined and deployed multiple innovative products seeking higher performance with leap-frog cost economics and also set early benchmarks in non-recourse project financing.
This talk will focus on both product innovation in solar energy and innovation in sustainability financing. The size of the solar energy market is significant – nearing an annual investment in solar energy new power plants of $250B. Solar modules, inverters, monitoring systems, and storage comprise most of this number. The addressable market for the introduction of new solar technology or product innovation is very large and allows for immense scalability. The solar market is truly global both in terms of markets and suppliers.
Product innovation in solar energy
The seminar will include a review of effective product introductions, many of which exhibit similar characteristics of product astuteness and a drive to forward-looking performance and commercial targets. Not all successes have been smooth, some of the leaders have had setbacks including unforeseen technical issues. The large amounts of investment required for manufacturing and selling implied a constant requirement to maintain the path and story of strong financial returns. Blending aggressive technology and commercial innovation appears to have worked. It is useful to examine how such dual innovation is embedded in a product offering.
Innovation in sustainability financing
Solar energy components and systems are expected to function for 20-30 years and the overlay of bankability and financing are critical especially for innovative technology. The long-term nature of the finance and returns – coupled with the very scale of the explosive investment needs – has required the development of new financial market products and market sources. Very quickly the sustainable financing story has evolved from government and agency support to mainline financial markets. However, analytical processes and the banking institutions are still retooling for this. In addition, an asset that functions over such a long term would require financial evaluation and analysis methods that align with its characteristics. The approach is to describe these efforts, the evolution of sustainable financing and what it implies to product innovation.
Ardeshir Contractor chairs India’s solar energy task force at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and partners with the government in developing policy, standards, and technological opportunity for Indian manufacture in solar. He is also an adjunct Research Associate with Edhec Infrastructure Institute, Singapore, investigating long term asset finance principles. In December 2015, he addressed the United Nations at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), and he was deeply involved with the UN Environment Programme’s Enquiry on the design of a global sustainable financial system. Mr. Contractor has served on the boards of Nature India, Government Committees, and Clean Energy Ministerial. He received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University, was the recipient of the 2015 College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and is currently an Executive in Residence with the Institute for Materials Research.
Ohio State’s materials research engine and the Discovery Themes program it drives are helping to position Ohio State as a model 21st-century land-grant university focused on interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. The depth and breadth of our faculty, the ingenuity of our students and the global reach of our partners is at the heart of Discovery at Ohio State.