Inter­view with Matthias Job­st of SOLAR­WATT

We made the Change­mak­ers edi­tion of Reimag­ine Ener­gy all about explor­ing the busi­ness­es and their lead­ers who have paved the way for change in the ener­gy sec­tor. In a series of inter­views, we spoke to those who are tak­ing risks with­in tra­di­tion­al indus­tries and who are imple­ment­ing nec­es­sary change for ulti­mate good.

In the final inter­view of the series, we speak to Matthias Job­st of SOLAR­WATT.

Like home-grown pota­toes, home-made pow­er is much tasti­er.”

Name: Matthias Job­st

Posi­tion: Vice Pres­i­dent Prod­uct Management/R&D, SOLAR­WATT GmbH

Back­ground: Prod­uct devel­op­ment envi­ron­ments

  • Elec­tri­cal engi­neer for Nokia
  • Non-destruc­tive test­ing at Gen­er­al Elec­tric
  • Smart homes at Schnei­der-Elec­tric
  • Prod­uct man­age­ment at SOLAR­WATT

What excites you the most about your indus­try?
“It’s real­ly about help­ing peo­ple achieve bet­ter ener­gy con­sump­tion by simul­ta­ne­ous­ly reduc­ing their ener­gy bill and their CO2 foot­print. It’s a very inter­est­ing and rel­a­tive­ly young indus­try, and I also like the elec­tri­cal nature of the tech.“

What does the future of the solar indus­try look like?
“Solar ener­gy use will become a much broad­er con­cept: There will be large PV [pho­to­volta­ic] plants that con­tribute ener­gy at the megawatt lev­el, but more than this, hous­es, small busi­ness­es and apart­ment build­ings will soon be equipped with pan­els as stan­dard. This will allow them to use their own pow­er to cou­ple it with var­i­ous sec­tors.“

What are the biggest mis­takes you’re see­ing with com­pa­nies try­ing to change their busi­ness­es to adapt to dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies?
“Many com­pa­nies like PV man­u­fac­tur­ers are still focused on build­ing indi­vid­ual com­po­nents at very low prices but what users want and need going for­ward is the sup­port of ener­gy man­age­ment solu­tions or help with com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent solu­tions. By com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent hard­ware, you start cre­at­ing val­ue. Take elec­tro­mo­bil­i­ty, for exam­ple: You can buy a home sta­tion to charge your elec­tric car and reduce your CO2 emis­sions, but if the elec­tric­i­ty comes from non-renew­able sources the effec­tive­ness is lim­it­ed. But if you link it to an exist­ing rooftop PV sys­tem, it all starts com­ing togeth­er.“

Some peo­ple con­sid­er home bat­tery sys­tems for renew­ables stor­age as too expen­sive. What would you say to this?
“Peo­ple refer to the upfront bat­tery price being more expen­sive com­pared to buy­ing ener­gy per kilo­watt-hour. When you com­pare the prices over time it makes finan­cial sense, espe­cial­ly if, like many of our cus­tomers, you assume pow­er prices will go up. Either way, if you already have rooftop PV, it’s a good solu­tion to con­sume as much of what you pro­duce as pos­si­ble. Like home-grown pota­toes, home-made pow­er is much tasti­er.“

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Reimagine Energy: the Changemakers Edition
Kiwigrid and SOLAR­WATT – Join­ing the Kiwi­Hub

Through­out the part­ner­ship of SOLAR­WATT and Kiwigrid, Kiwi­Hub work­shops have helped SOLAR­WATT design a bespoke prod­uct roadmap, define prod­uct devel­op­ment require­ments and plan mar­ket induc­tion.

The Kiwi­Hub is about full col­lab­o­ra­tion. In this instance, it brought Kiwigrid’s exper­tise in soft­ware devel­op­ment and IT inte­gra­tion along­side SOLARWATT’s hard­ware excel­lence.

This has helped SOLAR­WATT opti­mize and dig­i­tize their sales strat­e­gy, to ensure that their prod­ucts are pro­lif­er­at­ing the right mar­kets in the right way. This has enabled faster access to mar­ket and an entry into a shared ecosys­tem of assets. All this with min­i­mized risk and an objec­tive voice from Kiwigrid: the ener­gy indus­try experts.