Sergio Rodríguez
Service Manager Mexico and Latin America
(Ginlong) Solis
/
View from the Top

DG Solar Democratizes Energy; Storage Empowers its Users

By Cas Biekmann | Tue, 12/07/2021 - 09:14

Q: How do you assess demand for the company’s string inverters in Mexico’s current market conditions?

A: It is a difficult environment to operate in because of the political atmosphere, marked by a great deal of uncertainty regarding the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) and utility-scale project development. The development of large, renewable energy projects is at a complete standstill but distributed generation (DG) has grown exponentially, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. This situation has been somewhat surprising for Solis: We initially feared the worst for our sales over 2020 but after July, the DG market kicked in and we have experienced greater demand. Mexican end consumers have placed their trust in the solar industry, which has been the best news of the past year.

 

Q: In which sectors do you see the biggest potential for demand?

A: At the moment, DG represents the only hope for the solar market. Many companies that were previously focused on utility-scale projects are looking toward DG to maintain their business. Outside of this segment, residential users will continue to pursue solar solutions. The sun is out there and we have the technology to make it a success. In addition, policy favors small-scale solar. If there are no major changes, we expect the market for residential users to continue growing. With blackouts and higher energy prices becoming an issue in 2020, more people will want energy security, especially via hybrid solutions.

 

Q: What sets Ginlong Solis’ solutions apart from the heavy competition in the inverter business?

A: Solis has been in the Mexican market since 2013, backed by strong partnerships with local distributors. These partnerships, coupled with the growth of the solar sector that flourished  after the 2014 Energy Reform, have helped Solis to penetrate the market and establish itself as a trusted and high-quality brand. There are many  competitors, but we have a 35-40 percent market share. Our long-term partnerships, strong after-sales service and low failure rate have made this success possible.

 

Q: How is Ginlong working to ensure increased demand in DG solar solutions?

A: In 2020, we brought a new factory online, which allows us to achieve 20GW of production per year. This is a big improvement on our previous capacity of 5GW. It came at the right time for the solar industry: Raw materials are scarcer and logistics costs are increasing, so our increased capacity has helped us to become more efficient in meeting the growing global demand.

 

Q: How does the company adapt its solutions and support and retain its clients?

A: We have been able to improve our products significantly and have adapted our solutions to the Mexican market. If the market requires anything new, we work to provide it. We have also improved the internal quality of our inverters. They can now withstand the grid’s instability. In 2020, we introduced our 60K LV inverter for 220v projects, which is the only solution at this capacity in the market. This came about as a response to client demand that want to save on the transformer requierements

 

Q: How is the company developing solutions to tap into the growing need for hybrid solutions?

A: We differentiate ourselves from other companies because we exclusively focus on the solar industry. We also focus on hybrid solutions that feature energy storage capacity. Coupled with the sector’s growth, we aim to launch new solutions that combine batteries and solar technology. The focus will remain on grid-tied inverters while improving our current products to deal with higher regulatory standards and the increased capacity of photovoltaic solar panels. We need to evolve and hybrid solutions appear to be the future we need to adapt to. We also have a low-voltage 60kw large inverter which means a transformer is no longer necessary. This is particularly useful for Latin American applications in the C&I segment.

 

Q: What are the company’s expectations for the Mexican market in 2022?

A: In 2021, our plans constantly changed and we know we need to be flexible and adapt to support our customers. This year, we exceeded our sales goals in Mexico. For next year, we plan to expand to the Colombian market. As for Mexico, we expect total market demand to grow to 600MW in 2022. We hope to reach a 30-40  percent market share, located in residential, commercial and industrial areas.

The appetite and need for energy in Mexico will not change. Mexico is a developing country that is in close proximity to the US and Canada, its trading partners. Mexico has a great deal of manufacturing capacity and that is expected to grow even further. Everything in these processes is coupled to energy. The best way to keep companies competitive, efficient and aligned with climate change goals is to use renewable resources. In the case of Mexico, that would be the sun. With demand, technology and resources aligned, we just need the government to respect the current laws and to promote the energy sector in a way that everyone wins, not just one special company. In any case, DG is democratizing the energy sector. With current regulation, almost anyone can have access to their own energy. For the next step, we need to see explosive growth in energy storage applications, which will empower customers during this democratization.

Ginlong Solis is a Chinese company founded in 2005 that develops solar inverter technologies, focusing particularly on string inverters.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst