5 Key Stats Reveal Latin America’s Breakthrough Year in Solar

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Did you know that Latin America is the fastest-growing regional market in the history of the solar industry? Or that the region is home to the largest merchant solar plant in the entire world? Do you know which companies and financiers are leading that growth?

Latin America has been the bright spot of 2014, breaking several global PV records and setting a few regional ones of its own. This post draws on the most comprehensive research available from GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook to provide you with a data-packed guide to putting Latin America’s solar growth in context.

LATIN AMERICA IS THE FASTEST-GROWING MARKET FOR SOLAR PV IN HISTORY

The Latin American solar market is growing faster than any other regional market in history. Here are a few ways to put that in perspective.

eu_vs_latam_growth_2007-2014Latin America is growing more than twice as fast as the European market did in the 2007-2011 boom. In other words, the time that most folks in the solar industry associate with rapid downstream expansion pales in comparison to the growth we are seeing in Latin America today. Keep in mind that those European markets were subsidized, and Latin America is not.

There are a number of ways to put Latin America’s growth rates in context. The chart below shows rates since the market began in that region, the first three years of growth, and the last three years to the present day.

pv_growth_by_regionLooking across all regions, and taking their growth up to today, Latin America has grown at 1.8 times the regional average — and 1.5 times faster than the second-fastest-growing market. Adjusting for the start year to look at how the market grew in its first three years, Latin America rate of growth has been twice as fast as the regional average and 2.5 times faster than the second-ranked market. Latin America has also been the fastest-growing market over the last three years, despite the massive growth in the Asia-Pacific region led by China and Japan.

But what about volume? Of course, real volume matters too. While Latin America is still small in volumetric terms, compared to Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America, it is notable that at 988 megawatts, it has installed more volume in its first three years than any other regional market has in the past. The second-best market in this regard was Asia Pacific, which installed 613 megawatts in its first three years.

regional_pv_volumeCHILE DOMINATES THE LATIN AMERICAN SOLAR LANDSCAPE

With a record-setting 2014, Chile has surpassed both Peru and Mexico as the regional leader in PV installations. The volume of installations in Chile is eclipsing the total cumulative market for the region in previous years. In 2012, only 51 megawatts of on-grid PV capacity was on-line. In the first quarter of this year, Chile installed 150 megawatts. This is consistent with a trend seen in the top three markets Chile, Mexico, and Brazil which are responsible for 50 percent of all cumulative market growth through 2014. But even among the three, Chile currently rules supreme, installing 40 percent of the region’s volume in 2014. In 2015, Chile is expected to be Latin America’s first market to install 1 gigawatt in a single year.

CHILE IS HOME TO THE LARGEST MERCHANT SOLAR PLANT IN THE WORLD

In fact, Chile is home to two of the largest merchant solar plants. The 50-megawatt Maria Elena project from Sun Edison was the first large-scale solar plant to rely on the merchant spot market for its revenue. It held the distinction of the largest merchant solar plant in the world until a few weeks ago when SunPower’s Salvador Project, clocking in at 70 megawatts, stole the title. The region is able to sustain merchant solar plants due to a combination of high spot prices in parts of the grid and having the highest insolation rates in the entire world. That these plants were able to be developed without subsidies and be cost-competitive against every other resource on the market is a huge testament to how far solar has come in the region and where it is going.

THE OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION IS THE BIGGEST SOLAR INVESTOR IN CHILE

OPIC is the region’s largest debt investor, with more than $650 million invested in five solar projects, representing 432 megawatts in Chile. The organization is beating the nearest competitor three times over the International Finance Corporation with $190 million in four projects in Chile, representing 318 megawatts. The International Finance Corporation can also lay claim to financing the 40-megawatt Aura project in Mexico, adding more to its regional portfolio. The Inter-American Development Bank, currently ranking third, has been very active and could surpass both IFC and OPIC in 2015.

SUNEDISON IS THE REGION’S TOP DEVELOPER

Last, but certainly not least, is the company that is leading the way on the massive growth in the region. Sun Edison is the top-ranked developer in Latin America, based on a combination of megawatts installed and late-stage pipeline. With 155 megawatts operational and another 163 megawatts on the way, Sun Edison is well ahead of the competition for 2014. Several companies will challenge it for the top ranking in 2015, including First Solar with its 141-megawatt plant in Chile and Enel Green Power with 169 megawatts in its late-stage pipeline not to mention some very savvy competitive positioning by Enel in markets like Peru and Panama.

Citation: James, A. (2014). 5 Key Stats Reveal Latin America’s Breakthrough Year in Solar. Green Tech Media. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.greentechmedia.com/research/report/latin-america-pv-playbookk

Climate Panel Issues Dire Report as Renewables Make Little Impact

By David Talbot on November 3, 2014

The latest comprehensive global scientific assessment of climate change, released on Sunday, sounds the direst warning yet about the need to drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But despite years of such reports, fossil-fuel use and human-caused emissions continue to rise, and renewable energy technologies have so far failed to make a significant difference.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N.-convened panel of the world’s scientific community, estimates that in order to have a 66 percent chance of limiting total average warming to less than 2 °C relative to preindustrial levels—a goal widely seen as a threshold beyond which severe changes are far more likely—the world’s human population can emit no more than one trillion tons of carbon dioxide, and that we’ve already emitted more than half that much.

Avoiding going over one trillion tons would mean reducing greenhouse-gas emissions 40 to 70 percent by 2050 and slashing them to almost zero by 2100, the report estimates.

Such estimates were first made in 2009 (see this Nature paper) without prompting much in the way of policy changes to reduce emissions. But this is the first time the IPCC has embraced the concept of a global carbon budget in one of its comprehensive sets of assessments, which the panel issues every few years. On Sunday, the IPCC released the synthesis of the fifth set of such reports since 1990.

The task ahead is now far clearer for countries that have signed on to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), says Myles Allen, lead author of the 2009 paper, who heads climate research at the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment. These nations will meet for the next round of climate talks in Paris in late 2015.

With the IPCC having reviewed and endorsed the idea of a carbon budget, nations “haven’t got any excuse to ignore it now,” he says. “It’s not for the IPCC to recommend policy, but speaking personally, I very much hope [the countries] will now acknowledge the fact that their two-degree goal implies a cumulative limit on carbon emissions. And it is a limit we are rapidly approaching.”

At current rates, the “budget” would be spent in just 30 years. Reducing emissions below the threshold is a monumental task. It would require large-scale burial of carbon dioxide from many hundreds of existing coal power plants—but this effort has barely begun (see “Carbon Sequestration: Too Little, Too Late?”). In addition, it would require almost quadrupling the present supply of renewable energy and nuclear energy, the report estimates, as well as other vast efforts, including stopping deforestation and making widespread changes to agriculture practices.

And yet emissions keep rising. As one example, coal power plants already produce more than 14 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year (that’s about four billion tons of carbon) and are becoming more numerous.

If we continue on the current path, heat-trapping gases will build up to produce a surge in average global temperatures of 3.7 °C to 4.8 °C by 2100. The result will be a dangerous rise in sea levels, more profound droughts and heat waves (greatly stressing world water and food supplies), and more powerful storms and floods.

The idea of a carbon budget could clarify matters for governments, says Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. “This concept might prove useful at the negotiating table, as it changes the question from one of annualized emissions of individual nations,” he says. “Negotiations could then focus on how to divide that budget amongst individual countries.”

The IPCC says it is at least 95 percent certain that human activities, led by the burning of fossil fuels, are the main cause of the climate change seen since 1950, up from 90 percent in the previous assessment in 2007 and 66 percent in 2002. Its report is based on 30,000 scientific papers studied by about 830 authors and 2,000 reviewers.

Citation:
Talbot, D. (2014, November 3). Climate Panel Warns Again of Disastrous Climate Change | MIT Technology Review. Retrieved November 9, 2014.

Word of Mouth in the Digital World

It seems like the word “social media” is thrown around quite liberally just about everywhere. When certain words get repeated enough times and it can be twisted to mean something else. However, reason the word is used so much is simple, its because SOCIAL MEDIA IS BIG. Case in point, the whole KONY 2012 movement that spread virally through the inter webs to reach millions around the world just in the matter of days. Regardless of the actual mission of the movement or the “shady” manner of handling of the organization’s financial dealings, one thing is crystal clear. And the message is that, if you can offer something (that something can be product, service or anything else) that will get people excited and involve them emotionally, people will tell other people about it. For businesses this is a great opportunity to have your customer do the marketing for you.

With that being said, Angela Bandlow who is the  Vice President Marketing, Extole, a C2C social marketing company that creates social referral programs says that you can actually measure this amplification effect these referral programs have on eCommerce metrics like click through rate and conversion.

According to her, social referral programs allow companies to tap into their customer advocates to promote their brands, products and services by getting those customers to share within their social networks. These programs then track the shares through to the conversion, whether that is a sale, an opt-in or a coupon redemption.

Extole recently conducted research on 20% of its customer base with an average data collection length of 45 weeks, and this research uncovered some interesting data points on social sharing among different companies.

Measuring referral programs are little bit different than conventional marketing program.

She offers a few areas to track with referral programs:

  • How many of your customers are participating in your program? These people are called “advocates” at Extole.
  • Of the people participating, how many people do they share with, and through what marketing channel — email, Facebook, Twitter, personal URL (PURL), etc.  This metric is important because it shows the “amplification” of the message or call-to-action.
  • The number of social shares is the multiplication of the number of participants and the amount of sharing.
  • Clicks-per-share, or in other words, the rate of clicking with the social shares from your customers.

“You see a different rate of amplification across social channels versus email,” says Angela. “Email is always going to be a one-to-one share.”

Extole’s research found in aggregate its clients get 3.49 shares per advocate. In other words, everyone participating in a referral program is sharing with almost three and a half friends. On the high end, some advocates share with as many as 12 friends.

Here is a breakdown of some of the data points across several channels:

  • The largest percentage of advocate sharing is through email, and those shares get a 21% open rate, 80% clickthrough and 17% conversion (the highest conversion rate of any channel), which breaks down to .17 clicks per share.
  • Facebook shares average 1.24 clicks per share, but the conversion rate is only 1.21%.
  • Twitter actually averages 6.81 clicks per share, which creates the highest amplification rate of any channel.

This research also found an overall average of 42% clickthrough rate through social referral programs and almost five friend clicks per share for highly performing programs.

 

 

Capitalizing on Linsanity

The name Jeremy Lin didn’t mean anything couple of weeks ago. Now it is all the craze across the media. The story of the first Asian-American basketball player who was largely unheralded before coming off the bench to revitalize the struggling franchise has captured the hearts and the imagination of the whole world. However, he isn’t only winning on the basketball court, he is also wining big time for New York Knicks on the digital world.

According to ClickZ, the marketing gold mine that is Linsanity have effectively cornered media market.

“When speaking about what their number of Facebook likes/fans means, marketers sometimes joke about giving Facebook a million dollars to get a million fans. Well to get a half million new Facebook fans in the last two weeks, all the New York Knicks had to do was give Jeremy Lin the basketball.

The NBA franchise on Friday disclosed that the sports phenom – dubbed “Linsanity” by newspaper writers – has been not only a dynamo on the court but in the digital realm as well. The 23 year old athlete has been the spark behind the team going from Facebook 1.4 million fans/likes earlier this month to its current 1.95 million.

The Knicks’ web traffic has exploded by 770 percent since Lin’s starting lineup debut on Feb. 4, compared to the prior two weeks. Unique visitors are up 531 percent, team officials said, while video views have skyrocketed by 2,000 percent. Video views have totaled 1.8 million in the last two-and-a-half weeks, according to the Knicks. For the week ending Feb. 19, NYKnicks.com was the top visited site among all NBA properties.

The team has also picked up 35,000 Twitter followers, putting it at 230,000 total. In addition, the team says, its three-week-old KnicksNow mobile app has generated 130,000 downloads and currently ranks in the top five free sports apps in the iPhone store.

And while digital data is nice, nothing beats retail sales. Since Feb. 4, orders on NYKnicksStore.com have jumped roughly 4,000 percent, according to Delivery Agent, the Knicks’s e-commerce provider.

The sales lift is mainly due to Lin memorabilia. Since Feb. 4, his jersey has been the top seller in the NBA.”

The Very Best “Pay Per Click” Ad – Tricks of the Trade

The great thing about Pay per click advertising is that you can generate traffic right away. It’s simple. Spend enough, get top placement, and potential customers will see you first. If potential customers are searching for the keyphrases on which you bid and you’ve placed a well-written ad, you will get clicks the moment the ad is activated.

In this video interview, paid search expert Joseph Kerschbaum offers several tips that will help you write an effective PPC text ad.

When people type in a search, says Kerschbaum, they have a question. They’re actively looking for an answer. So start with relevancy. Think about your audience: What would they want to see when they search? Make sure you display the keyword of the search query in your headline and in your ad to show maximum relevancy. Also try to show really great benefits, rather than emphasizing features.

Once you’ve written an ad, the best way to improve it is with ad testing. Test 2 or 3 ad variations. Make them quite different and test the same kinds of things side-by-side. Finally, tell people what you want them to do when they get to the landing page.

Here’s the process of ad testing: Try 2 or 3 ads and see which one rises to the top — the “champion ad.” Then try to figure out why it was working. Next, try to determine how to beat the “champion ad” with variations. While testing, keep the variations limited to one element at a time: the headline, the ad text, the visible URL.

If you continually try to challenge your best ad, you’ll increase your click-through and conversion rates substantially. And, as you improve your click-through rate, you improve your Quality Score, raise your ranking, and lower your cost-per-click.

Also, within AdWords campaign settings, select the ‘rotate’ option, which allows time for an adequate test on all your ad variations, rather than fixing upon one winner too early.

Social Media 101

SOCIAL MEDIA 101

The relationship between the brand and the consumer has evolved significantly over the last decade. And the main driving force behind this fundamental evolution is the all-mighty “SOCIAL MEDIA”. The world is shrinking; technology is growing at an exponential pace and we, the consumers are now spending significant potions of our lives online. And businesses around the world are recognizing this cue and are engaging us on many levels to attract our attention. With that being said, SOCIAL MEDIA must provide results. This article explains what you must do to get that elusive SOCIAL MEDIA ROI.
Also, I love the info-graphics style it uses and believe it is the future of presentations.
In search of the elusive social media ROI, brands are doubling down on metrics around engagement, influence, or monitoring. The key pillars of social media (monitoring, analytics, engagement, reporting, and collaboration) work together; they should not be disconnected from each other or from the rest of the business.
Social media can only deliver results and ROI if it’s used as a tool to solve actual business problems. The simplest example of this is customer service: A brand needs to monitor for negative comments, engage with customers and then report whether the social customer service initiative has achieved some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
In this infographic and the downloadable “4 Pillars of Social Media Success” whitepaper, we have tried to demystify how the most successful social media practitioners are using all these social media pillars to solve business problems, rather than just running social media initiatives for the sake of it.

uber

Hello world!

Hey there world. My name is Brandon Gerel and this is my blog. My story starts in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where I was born and raised. Due to the twists and turns life provides you with, somehow I have ended up in Vancouver, Canada, a place I consider to be my home and where I live to this day. But most importantly, I like to consider myself a Global Citizen. I believe that regardless of where you are from or how you look, we humans share a common destiny to transcend the antiquated prejudices and enmity only together.

And this is my attempt to be part of the solution. In this blog, you will find the latest and the greatest news in the fields of science, technology and business.

As well as find information on other interests of mine like city planning, urban development and art, music and other abstractions.

So who knows, you might find something here that you will find useful.

Turn Your BrandON!