Solar Exchange is introducing a new cloud-based business-to-business marketplace for the solar industry. Think of it as an eBay for solar companies. The new online marketplace will allow solar companies to buy and sell solar goods and materials online increasing the ability of buyers and suppliers to interact with each other more directly. It also allows them to compete amongst themselves in an attempt to get the best price for goods whether buying or selling materials.
“Solar Exchange fills a gaping hole in the solar industry infrastructure,” said Solar Exchange founder Z. Ed Lateef. “Not uncommon in early markets, supplier and buyer networks within the solar market are highly fragmented. Companies have been forced to seek out partners on their own, establish trade and commercial relationships and commit to commerce with little market support,” he said.
The company will launch the commerce platform on Sept. 9. The exchange allows solar companies to participate in online business-to-business (B2B) auctions and request for quote (RFQ) capabilities to help facilitate sales and purchasing. The company said it will create a direct connection between solar businesses, large and small throughout the industry. This includes raw materials suppliers, like silicon ingots or wafers, as well as components, suppliers and balance of systems manufacturers. It also allows engineering procurement and construction companies, installers, developers, utilities and energy companies.
Solar Exchange was designed, according to the company, to help buyers and sellers respond to rapidly-changing market conditions. It gives sellers more sales channels and buyers more access to sellers, allowing both sides to compete for the best possible prices. The platform also is global in nature and is launching in English, German and Chinese. The company said is also has local service offices in the U.S., China, Germany, and India to support the exchange at launch.
“Validation of this new commerce solution across the industry has been extremely positive,” said Solar Exchange CEO Gary Mull. “Companies across the solar value chain recognize the limitations of traditional buy-and-sell activities and are excited to see a model that has proven effective in other markets become operational in the solar industry.”
After launch, Solar Exchange plans to offer more support in more emerging markets. To help entice solar companies to use the exchange, the company also is offering businesses a free six month trial for companies that register by Sept. 30.