Here’s our run-down of the interview with Tim Montague and Jake Rozmaryn, senior vice president, Antenna Group on the Solar Podcast. Listen here.
The political tailwinds are palpable. The level of excitement about clean energy is at an all time high. “And everyone’s increasing their marketing spend to try to get a seat at the table,” Jake, Sr. VP at Antenna Group, recently told Solar Podcast’s Tim Montague. Optimistically and with caution, Jake offers five trends to watch in 2021.
#1 How Biden Translates Enthusiasm to Reality
Clearly, President Biden’s appointments will steer the proverbial ship with clean energy sails. “But I don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park to get everything done that we want,” says Jake. And it will take time. “It’s great that the pendulum has swung back to sustainability, offensively,” he says, after years of economics as the key driver. “Now decisions are being made, investments accelerated, because of the sustainability case . . . understanding that this is what consumers want. And if you don’t do it, there are now greater repercussions – for your brand, for hiring, for your suppliers.”
#2 To SPAC or Not to SPAC?
Talking about Special Purchase Acquisition Companies, Tim’s analogy is a shell waiting for a turtle. “Getting on the SPAC train sounds really fun,” says Jake. “It might be a good way to get liquidity for founders and for some early investors.” But he cautions that this is for the right companies, at the right stages. Strategic industry investors know how long it takes to develop these technologies, bring them to market, scale manufacturing, he says. “This back craze is being driven by retail investors that are not going to be patient, not going to be a strategic resource to a company.”
#3 Will Virtual Power Plants Go Mainstream?
We envision a bunch of distributed energy batteries, like power walls. But now bundled under VPPs are the proliferation of DERs (distributed energy resources). “People think solar storage, but we’re talking thermostats, all kinds of HVAC systems, heat pumps . . . even turning water heaters into generation sources,” according to Jake. Companies that are able to finance and seamlessly manage these assets, get them connected and communicating with the grid, create platforms to monetize them, “I think are going to have huge amounts of success.”
#4 Electrification of Everything that Moves
EVs get a lot of airtime, but what we’re seeing now is the electrification of everything that moves. There are dozens of companies developing electric aircraft. Planes that will fly regional routes with a hundred passengers, fully electric. We’re talking zero emission ferries in the coming year . . . more buses, forklifts, tractors, all kinds of drones, and robots. “It’s really exciting and it’s creating a ton of opportunities for companies in the battery space, electric motors and lightweight materials,” he adds. “I’m excited to take my first flight on a fully electric airplane. Super quiet. All that white noise in the background will be gone.”
#5 Green Hydrogen is Defining Long Term Storage
“We need to decarbonize industry, mining, agriculture . . . the entire economy if we are going to move the needle,” explains Jake. “Green hydrogen is so exciting because it gives us an opportunity to do that. We’re going to need low carbon fuels that can leverage existing infrastructure, that can be seamlessly integrated into the economy.” Guest and host agree that while the hydrogen industry has been around for quite some time, there is a fresh new wave of technologies and opportunities. They encourage followers to watch for the Generation Hydrogen virtual global event, details coming soon.
This complete interview and others can be viewed at Solar Podcast, brought to you by Continental Energy Solutions.