By Bart Leusink
What a difference a year makes. At Solar Power International 2018, Esdec launched in the U.S. market and made a big splash at the show. A few months later, Esdec bought EcoFasten Solar, and since then we’ve gone from trying to introduce a European company to the market to investing in and growing an existing player in the rooftop solar mounting and racking space.
Since EcoFasten was acquired at the end of 2018, we’ve experienced tremendous growth and success. We’ve evolved from a mom-and-pop flashings and attachments product company to become EcoFasten 2.0, a more professional-grade operation with a comprehensive mounting systems solutions portfolio. Our Rock-It rail-less system is getting much more traction in the market, and our new ClickFit rail-based solution (which we introduced at SPI) is garnering a high level of interest.
We are continuing to hire new talent and increase our market share, with several multi-megawatt deals with major installers in the pipeline. We recently moved into a much larger headquarters building in Phoenix, where we are expanding our training and product development capabilities.
At this year’s SPI, EcoFasten 2.0’s efforts and growth trajectory were on full display. The beautifully designed booth represented a major step up from the previous EcoFasten show presence, and the recent news of the major acquisitions made by Esdec was buzzing around the show floor. Our meeting calendar was packed, as we engaged with our current customers and talked with prospective ones as well. This is no surprise, given that our sales this year have exceeded both our own projections as well as the seemingly conservative industry forecasts for the U.S. residential rooftop sector by the likes of Wood Mackenzie.
We listened closely to the feedback we heard from our customers on ways we could improve the efficiencies of our systems. Different applications require different approaches – “no two roofs are exactly alike” as we like to say – so the suggestions about the need for a different bracket here or extra adapter there were welcome. There’s a reason one of our taglines is “by installers, for installers” – we know from our own experience that no one understands what’s needed on the roof better than the installation community.
SPI also brought a greater awareness of one of the critical issues facing the rooftop solar industry as a whole—the need to enforce building codes and standards. While most installers and hardware suppliers maintain a high level of integrity, quality and safety, there are some bad actors who engage in shady engineering practices, cut corners, bend the rules and, quite frankly, cheat. This kind of behavior should not and cannot be tolerated, as it negatively impacts the entire industry and could even put lives at risk.
EcoFasten is one of a growing coalition of industry leaders that believe that SEIA and other trade associations must raise these concerns and create ways to enforce the necessary codes and standards to maintain the integrity of the rooftop solar sector. We will be continuing to press this issue in the months ahead.
Coming off SPI 2019 our outlook is even more positive and optimistic. The already strong growth we’ve seen could accelerate, both because of our own sales efforts and the benefits of a possible extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit. When #SPICon returns to Anaheim next September, I expect EcoFasten 2.0 to be in full flight.
For more social posts about this year’s Solar Power International show, search for the #SPICon hashtag. And don’t forget to follow us at @EcoFasten on Twitter and LinkedIn.