US ROUND-UP: New solar cybersecurity initiative; Ex-First Solar president joins tracker firm

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Image: Sunfolding.

A round-up of recent news from the US solar market, as US government bodies launch a new initiative to boost the cybersecurity of solar developments while an ex-First Solar president joins a California-based tracker company.


US bodies launch solar cybersecurity initiative

18 June 2020: Government bodies in the US have combined on a new initiative to help boost the cybersecurity of solar projects in the country.

The Cybersecurity Advisory Team for State Solar (CATSS) will bring together the National Association of State Energy Officials and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, while additional support will be provided by the US Depart of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

The project is to leverage state, federal and private sector expertise in the cybersecurity, grid and PV sectors with the aim of identifying best practice for solar cybersecurity programs as well as actions for states to bring forward alongside utilities and the solar industry.

“As energy systems become more integrated and cyber-connected, their vulnerability to malicious actions grows. Solar technologies are no exception; new tools and a dedicated, multi-stakeholder approach should strengthen solar cybersecurity, and by doing so, enable states to make meaningful progress on climate and resilience goals,” Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission said.


Ex-First Solar president Sohn joins tracker firm Sunfolding

17 June 2020: Bruce Sohn, the former president of US-based module manufacturer First Solar, has joined the board of directors of single-axis tracking supplier Sunfolding.

Sohn joins San Francisco-based Sunfolding as an independent director having been unanimously invited by the company’s five existing board members, which includes representatives from investors G2VP and Macquarie Capital.

Sohn spent eight years at the helm of First Solar having previously been at computer chip manufacturer Intel for 25 years.

Jurgen Krehnke, chief executive at Sunfolding, said: “It is most solar companies’ dream to turn into the ‘next First Solar,’ literally changing the world in the process of building a profitable renewable energy business. Having access to the knowledge, expertise and charisma behind the original success story is of incredible value to us.”


Strata Solar selects Power Factors’ software to manage 2.5GW portfolio

23 June 2020: US-based solar and battery storage O&M provider Strata Solar has picked Power Factors’ Drive Plus software platform to manage its 2.5GW-strong portfolio of assets.

Renewables software and services provider Power Factors said its platform combines technical asset management and field services management into a single platform, with Strata Solar now deploying the platform across its North American portfolio.

The multi-year agreement will see the platform in place across more than 250 sites across North America and Gary Freeman, senior VP of operations and maintenance at Strata Solar, said the company had picked Drive Plus following a “comprehensive evalution” process, with Power Factors having understood the company’s “unique challenges”.

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