Gonzalo Rodríguez
Sales Manager Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
JA Solar
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View from the Top

Durable Solar Power for a Successful Transition

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 11:45

Q: What potential does JA Solar see in Mexico's energy market?

A: In Mexico's case, we have gone as far as establishing local offices and hiring specialized nationals because physical presence is a must when it comes to market position. We have been looking at Mexico for quite some time because of the initial self-consumption and self-supply projects. The reform defined structures that peaked our interest, such as the long-term electricity auctions, the CELs and CFE’s longterm energy needs.

Mexico’s energy future is profiled as the most promising in the region. Many pieces of the puzzle are coming together, beyond the auctions. Electricity prices are becoming increasingly attractive and PPAs are enhancing private participation. Distributed generation is also on course for exponential growth, with a steady installed capacity increase.

Q: What is your financing strategy for Mexico?

A: SINOSURE is a Chinese government tool to help Chinese companies with sales to foreign companies, similar to credit insurance. This bypasses the additional financial cost of bank credit letters and the associated commissions. After receiving a foreign company’s financial information and completing the relevant studies and analyses, SINOSURE unblocks the financing for the project. If the company fails to pay, SINOSURE guarantees 70 percent of the amount. It has worked well in the past with companies such as Enel and we are going to use the same scheme for our Mexican clients.

Q: How is JA Solar contributing to the professionalization of Mexico’s renewable energy workers?

A: To cover this necessity, for distributed generation in particular, JA Solar offers training courses through its distributors in Mexico, such as Exel Solar. More often than not, this concerns technical aspects, such as installation, but end-user clients also want to know who we are so they can be reassured about the smoothness of the process.

Q: What is JA Solar's targeted client portfolio in Mexico?

A: As one of the four major solar energy manufacturers worldwide, with a manufacturing capacity of close to seven GW per year, our core business revolves around utility scales, IPPs, and project-owning developers. These types of clients value products, quality and technology and we are comfortable in those areas. For instance, we closed a 370MW project with Iberdrola in Mexico. Our company is exclusively dedicated to manufacturing solar panels. This is particularly useful for the auctions because we are not additional competition for our clients. In distributed generation, we sell solar panels for smaller projects through our distribution network. 

Q: What is JA Solar’s competitive advantage compared to other global PV solar powerhouses in Mexico?

A: One of the decisive factors for closing a client is price. JA Solar’s manufacturing capacity ensures a considerable advantage in this matter, particularly when it comes to winning an auction. Also, our company started as a solar cell manufacturer and trader, specializing in solar technology. In 2005, JA Solar was constituted as a solar panel manufacturer and listed on NASDAQ in 2007. Technologically speaking, we manage to continuously stay six months ahead of the sector’s newest trends. Our monocrystalline panels have 360W STC power ratings, which is unique in the market. This capacity gives our clients serious advantages and global savings project-wise: higher power for less terrain surface, as well as savings in infrastructure, workforce and logistics costs.

Q: What would be two key indicators for JA Solar's success in Mexico?

A: JA Solar’s key reference would be market share, for both utility scale and distributed generation. We also want to make our Mexico office the centralized launching pad for Latin America, both in terms of technical services and commercial network. The successful loyalty management of our clients and disseminating our brand throughout Mexico’s renewable energy market are also among our top priorities.