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In summary, Europe might see in the next five to seven years a huge new top-down infrastructure scheme (the smart grid), combined with a bottomup micro-generation installation drive (roof-top solar panels and home battery storage). This would produce growth in demand for Micro-inverters, large battery arrays, domestic electric vehicle chargers and smart (connected) appliances. In a dynamic commercial environment, existing suppliers of these products cannot be certain of holding on to their existing market share. There will be plenty of opportunity for suppliers offering new technologies, new implementation techniques or new business models. At the same time, the basic electronics components and functions of products such as micro-inverters and battery arrays are familiar to many OEMs with experience in high-power electronics. The basic technology already exists: the prize will go to the OEMs which can build it cheaper, improve its performance in some way or make it easier to deploy in the field. This is an entrepreneurial opportunity for manufacturers of all kinds of industrial equipment, which will be able to call on a ready ecosystem of suppliers of components such as IGBTs, capacitors, transformers and lithium-ion cells. The supply-chain infrastructure is also already in place, and includes technical distributors such as Future Energy Solutions which can introduce and support existing and new components. Supply-chain companies which are familiar with the micro-generation market can also help new entrants navigate their way through this market, so that they can avoid suffering, for instance, from a shortage of suppliers of the high-quality, long-life capacitors needed in battery arrays that consumers will expect to last for ten years or more. It is not often that the stars align so clearly as they are now doing in the micro-generation market. With the price of solar panels falling as fast as their power output is rising, a tipping point could soon be reached at which European consumers will trigger a boom, even without support from government subsidy. Large quantities of conversion and storage equipment would then be required, and its design and manufacturing is well within reach of hundreds of OEMs which are not today in the power-generation market. In a few years’ time, we might all be looking back and thinking this was an opportunity too good to be missed. Who will be entrepreneurial enough to take it? No Boundaries Our mission-critical resistors are truly out of this world. In fact, soon they will be out of our solar system, helping NASA’s Voyager spacecraft travel where no Earth craft has gone before. Thirty-fi ve years and 11 billion miles... Now that’s reliability. State of the Art, Inc. RESISTIVE PRODUCTS Made in the USA. See us at Electronica at Kamaka in Hall A4 Booth 126. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe November 2014 37


EETE NOV 2014
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