FIMER Consolidates Market Share Growth in Latin AmericaBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 01/26/2022 - 13:29
Q: What strategies has FIMER implemented to remain competitive in Latin America?
A: We have based our 2022 business development in Latin America on three pillars. The first is the people we have onboard. Our team comprises talented, young individuals who support the growth of our company. The second pillar is our renewed product portfolio that we launched at the end of 2021. We have launched new products in the residential segment as well as our hybrid inverter that supports our growth plans in the commercial and industrial sectors. The third pillar is to provide enough channel partners across Latin America.
Q: When working with distributors, how does FIMER ensure client loyalty?
A: We are a European company and our products are 100 percent made in Italy. Our only manufacturing plant for string inverters is located near Florence. We carefully assess who will be our representative in a region or country because we need to be certain that they will have enough inventory to support local sales and the technical skills to provide advice and customer service. After we choose them, we support our distribution partners with our guarantee process.
Q: What advantage does FIMER provide by having central and string inverters?
A: We developed and launched the new 350-kilowatt string inverter together with the medium voltage compartment station because we are seeing more solar and EPC interest in large projects with string inverters. On the other hand, some customers are looking for central inverters as a preferred solution when developing projects above 30MW. That is why we have two different but integrated R&D departments, one that focuses on string inverters and the other on central inverters. This allows us to provide the best of both solutions. We talk about the advantages of both with our customers, assess their needs and choose according to those needs.
Q: What are your demand expectations for your utility and distributed generation (DG) projects?
A: The demand depends on the region. For instance, Mexico will focus at least for the next three years on DG. However, we also have new markets that are growing rapidly. In Colombia, for example, you have DG together with large-scale storage projects. Chile is seeing strong growth in solar energy generation. Smaller markets like Uruguay and Argentina are focused more on distributed generation. Others, such as Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, are looking to consolidate new sources of energy and they face the task of settling all the bases for the development of renewable energy markets. Central America is also growing at an interesting pace.
Q: What have been the benefits of your ABB acquisition in boosting your R&D efforts?
A: Considering the knowledge we acquired in 2020 with ABB, we have released some new products. We launched the PVS-10/33, which are six new inverters (10, 12.5, 15, 20, 30, and 33), in June 2021. Last September, we also launched our new solution of PVS-350, 300 and 260, with the new medium-voltage compartment station that integrates all the string inverters with the step-up transformer. In late 2021, we launched the new PowerOne, PowerTrio and PowerX batteries for storage.
Q: Why should technology integrators choose FIMER equipment for residential storage solutions?
A: We have different storage solutions. One is the microgrid system MGS-100 that came from ABB and was part of the acquisition. This is a great storage solution that can integrate other sources of energy for a microgrid that is 100 percent disconnected from the grid. This solution can be placed in a remote area or somewhere where the electric network is not reliable. Another product is our PowerX batteries, which are great for residential and small, commercial applications. For larger storage, we provide the PVS-980 bidirectional converter. Unlike other companies that have most of their storage products in testing, we have already launched our storage solutions. We have one 8MW/h installed in Colombia and another 3MW/h installed in Peru. We are one of the few players who have storage solutions running and are not in the testing phase. Therefore, the installer can choose FIMER because we have working solutions for a variety of market segments: residential, commercial, industrial and utility-scale.
Q: What are FIMER’s Latin America expansion plans?
A: FIMER is aiming to grow its market share in other countries besides Mexico. We plan to do business in Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic and other Central American countries. In South America, we have a good market share, particularly in Chile. We look forward to consolidating our presence in Uruguay and Argentina. Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador are considered the new kids on the block and we are seeing positive trends in their energy sectors. Apart from our traditional business in solar inverters, we are also very active in the electric vehicle (EV) charger space. We have a variety of products that range from AC chargers to DC rapid chargers. We are working hard, particularly in South America, to incorporate those solutions into their markets. With an increasing transition to EV, countries will have to develop the charging infrastructure needed. We have consolidated experience in Europe, where we have installed 54,000 chargers. We want to leverage that experience in Latin America. Therefore, we aim to generate clean energy as well as charge EVs with clean energy. We provide complementary solutions on both sides of the equation.
Q: What is Mexico’s role within your Latin American market strategy?
Mexico used to be like the big brother of the region, which is not the case anymore. Other governments in the region, like that in Colombia, are pushing more innovative energy generation policies; nevertheless, Mexico still plays a relevant role. According to our research, DG totals 400 to 450MW, so it remains an interesting market for us, even though it could be better. There is a chance the trend will change for the better in three years. FIMER remains interested in staying in Mexico. Its office for Latin America is in Mexico, and we plan to keep our customer service here for the entire region.
FIMER specializes in solar inverters and mobility systems, leading the global manufacture of inverters for solar systems, sitting in the Top 4 globally. It has over 1,100 employees in over 26 countries.