With project activity at record highs while steel prices have fallen to new lows, the timing has never been better for project developers, EPCs and installers to lock in suppliers. LinkUp visited SunLink’s San Leandro warehouse to have a conversation with VPs of Supply Chain and Sales, Chuck Galbreath and Clara Nagy about 2016’s supply chain challenges and opportunities.
“I feel as if every day I’m seeing another email from module manufacturers and other suppliers warning customers that they are sold out or nearly sold out for next year,” Clara said. “Luckily, at SunLink we’ve anticipated this ramp in demand and even as we’re selling record volumes, we are simultaneously expanding and scaling to meet the escalating demand. Today, we can supply 50 MW/week. But planning ahead is still more critical than ever before with so many projects vying for the same resources.”
“In addition to avoiding supply constraints, we’re advising customers to be opportunistic about steel prices and the surplus Chinese steel production capacity,” adds Chuck. “For the past nine months, steel prices have been trending lower, and whether you’re talking domestic or international, there is no way to know where those prices are going to go from here. Particularly for large commercial and utility-scale projects, securing steel prices at current levels can dramatically reduce total installed costs.”
Clara summed it up best this way: “As an industry, we collectively have an incredible opportunity to make 2016 a record-setting year in terms of advancing solar power adoption. The key to achieving the volume that is planned, of course, is to be smarter about project planning. Even projects slated for installation a year from now or more need to be buttoning up their orders immediately or risk having their plans derailed.”
As the old adage goes, nothing is more expensive than a lost opportunity. SunLink is eager to work with our customers to ensure nothing is lost, delivering project solutions for 2016 and beyond that ensure realization of next year’s anticipated project pipelines and more.