Fernando Sánchez
Vice President of Sales, Latin America
José Mendoza
Country Manager
View from the Top

How an Effective Local Strategy can Become a Global Success

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 16:18

Q: What makes Soltec’s offer for Mexico’s solar market unique?

FS: Soltec unveiled its new proposal for 2018 during the latest Intersolar fair: the new SF7 tracker. This update is an optimized version of our SF Utility tracker. SF7 comprises 90 solar modules mounted in a portrait structure, with three strings of 30 solar panels. Our tracker’s differentiating factor lies in its versatility. At 45 meters long, it adapts nicely to steep slopes, rendering land leveling practically unnecessary. Our product is designed with zero gaps between the modules, enabling a 5 percent greater energy yield, lower costs for BOP material and a reduction in labor expenditures. SF7 also reduces the number of parts required for installation by 15 percent and uses 58 percent fewer screw connections than leading competitors. Soltec’s DC Harness system replaces conventional PV wiring with an aluminum system, representing 73 percent less wire length, 65 percent less installation labor and factory-tested insulation resistance while eliminating the traditional combiner box. 
We are participating in the direct installation of more than 800MW globally under an EPC scheme, from the installation to the commissioning and operation of the solar park.  Soltec trains local personnel and develops projects with them. Our company’s proven expertise in the installation process permeates our engineering, resulting in an easy-to-install product. Soltec only takes 220 man-hours per MW installed, meaning that with a team of 40 technicians we can install 1MW daily. We just completed a 293MW facility in Brazil, the largest PV project yet in installed capacity. We have reached production peaks between 6 and 7MW per day. Our track record and integrated EPC services give Soltec the confidence to undertake 500MW projects in six to seven months, hindrance-free.

Q: How does Soltec reach successful market entry?

FS: Everything pertaining to departments where local management makes more sense, such as administration, human resources, permits, purchases and local logistics, is managed by local experts we hire. We then back our local assets with our global departments from our central office. 

JM: Once we created the company’s local structure in Mexico, we were able to take on the project workload our central office usually closes back in Spain. From the outset, we get acquainted with our project’s local governmental authorities and leaders. Positioning our brand in Mexico also involved interacting with the local office of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce to get ourselves known and noticed as a major player in the game. Our Mexican structure is solid, set and ready to take on any number of PV projects that come our way. We want our locally trained professionals to be Mexico’s future solar experts.

Q: How does Soltec address Mexico’s climate hazards?

FS: Our highly qualified engineering team knows how to integrate these risk factors into the project’s blueprint. Each project is its own. We are analyzing seven to eight projects simultaneously. A primary aspect of our analysis is our onsite wind tunnel study. We adapt our products and equipment to a particular location’s wind and pressure conditions to provide the necessary module structure, addressing the zone’s particularities and our clients’ expectations. 

Q: What are Soltec's O&M comparative advantages?

FS: Our tracker is designed to require little and simple maintenance. Our experience in Chile, under extreme weather conditions, allows us to provide efficient and effective maintenance services for utility-scale projects with teams of three to four technicians. We have accumulated 700,000 man hours with zero accidents and counting. 

Q: What is Soltec’s vision in Mexico for the long term?

FS: In line with our average market share in Latin America, we are projecting an approximate 30 percent share in operational PV solar projects in the next five years. We have already started with our 240MW under construction.