Ivan Michel
Sales Director Mexico
SMA America
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SMA: An Integrated Solar Solution

By Cas Biekmann | Thu, 10/28/2021 - 08:53

Q: In February, SMA celebrated 2.5GW of installed equipment in Latin America alone. What is Mexico's contribution to this milestone?

A: Mexico, has served as an access point for SMA to the greater Latin American market. Customers in the region value SMA’s experience and trust the company’s solutions and technologies that have been field-proven worldwide with more than 100 GW of installed capacity. In a rapidly evolving sector like solar, SMA understands the value of long-term performance and we have worked hard to adapt and provide solutions as the industry changes and the infrastructure to support customers across the globe. These guiding principles have allowed us to solidify our presence in a market that has challenged many other manufacturers after only a couple years. Put simply, our work in Mexico’s distributed generation market has allowed us to showcase our services and technologies to the wider Latin American market, which we are confident will generate new opportunities.

 

Q: Which solution is most in demand for distributed generation bay installations in Mexico?

A: Our Sunny Boy series, available in power classes ranging from 3.0 to 7.7KW, is a robust and a preferred solution for residential projects. On the commercial side, our CORE1 inverter with 33, 50 and 62.5kWof models is a holistic solution and is the only free-standing inverter on the market. Moreover, it does not require long cables or fuses, it can handle exposure to direct sunlight and does not require combiner boxes because it has six maximum power point trackers (MPPTs). It also features ShadeFix optimization, which helps it produce more energy – even under shaded conditions. With so many integrated, cost-saving features and technology that increases lifetime energy harvest, it is no surprise that this solution is preferred by Mexico’s commercial integrators. 

 

Q: Can CORE1 sync with other technologies or software to intelligently optimize self-consumption of energy?

A: SMA technology is used to generate, store, and manage energy. We are compatible with a variety of third-party devices that provide energy solutions to home and business owners, as well as electrical utilities. Sunny Portal is changing the way integrators view PV investments by opening a pathway to new and exciting revenue streams. This platform will ensure the successful integration and intercommunication of technologies and software as new features and technologies continue to be added to these energy systems. SMA continues to develop new technologies to meet tomorrow’s demand. This particularly includes battery storage technology for our systems, of which we have nearly 4GW installed globally. This accumulated experience has made us one of the biggest players in the field.

 

Q: What is your view of the storage segment in Mexico?

A: Mexico is still in its relative infancy with regard to battery system adoption, mainly because of subsidizing tariffs, which make its wider adoption more challenging However, there is growing domestic interest and we see a clear path for SMA to emerge as a storage leader in the region. The commercial segment is especially eager to adopt battery solutions that are capable of supporting other important auxiliary services that could be scaled up for application to CFE’s energy grid. From my perspective, although market demand is present and growing, the generation of any formal projects will likely be absent for a couple of years. Consequently, I anticipate Mexico’s transition process will be slower in comparison to the European market, but when the domestic market is ready, SMA will be there to assist it step-by-step.

 

Q: What is the importance of the SMA Solar Academy and how does it aid installers?

A:  The SMA Solar Academy was created to educate and train trade professionals on our technology and has a successful legacy within SMA. Our customer engagement does not end when the product is delivered. We offer our partners live courses, webinars and ongoing training on our products. This allows SMA solutions to run optimally, meet their expected life cycle and, if needed, undergo service remediation activities from an SMA-trained professional. From what we have observed, our large network of skilled trade professionals is very pleased and appreciative of this direct support.

 

Q: How does the company invest in research and development to make sure it is always on top of advances?

A: SMA continually invests in the development of new products and technologies with innovation spearheaded by our laboratory in Germany. The company's emphasis on R&D has allowed us to build on our current field-proven products while adding new products to our ever-growing portfolio of PV and storage solutions. Our development of EV chargers has already seen a successful deployment in Europe and we’re investigating new markets as well. It is a unique product because of its direct interaction with solar plants instead of the grid, which equates to a more granular level of energy management and greater savings for the system owner. At the moment, this technology is capable of communicating with solar inverters and seeks to incorporate battery storage in the near future.

In the utility sector, our Sunny Central inverter continues to lead the way on a global scale in both PV and PV+ storage applications. Grid code compliance can be a challenge when working with these systems, so SMA employs a team of experts to help guide customers to the most efficient and effective solutions.

Overall, we will continue to make significant investments in renewable technologies as we develop solutions for the energy landscape of tomorrow.

SMA America is the Mexican arm of SMA, a global inverter manufacturer with solar inverters of all sizes, found in the smallest domestic installations, commercial, industrial and the biggest utility-scale capacity.

Photo by:   SMA
Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst