Solar Tracker Leader Making Its Mark in Mexico
STORY INLINE POST
Q: As an American company, do you see the current US administration support on fossil fuels affecting you?
A: Renewable energies, mostly wind and solar, have been boosted via incentive schemes such as renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and tax credits. Although these incentives still exist and remain important for the development of renewables in the US, clean energy technologies are cheaper than fossil options even without the incentives. Traditionally, solar development occurred mostly in regions with high solar irradiation that also had incentive mechanisms and policies. Other areas where there are no incentives have since adopted the technology because people have been able to see the benefits of that technology. If the incentives were to be eliminated that would certainly impact near-term growth but would not reverse this trend.
Q: How does the Flex acquisition fit into NEXTracker’s strategy?
A: NEXTracker has a global vision that includes all major solar markets worldwide. Flex is an established global leader in the electronics manufacturing space with a robust energy practice. The synergies are sizable. Flex has been manufacturing in Mexico for over 20 years and has over 30,000 employees nationwide. Moreover, prior to the acquisition, Flex manufactured the controller — effectively the "brain" of the system — for our tracker. Being a Flex company, NEXTracker is the only player in the tracker market that is investment grade and backed by a profitable parent company with US$24 billion in revenues in 2017. This makes NEXTracker’s warranty the strongest in the market.
Q: What is NEXTracker’s strategy to maintain its marketleading position?
A: Although we have achieved a market-leading position two years in a row with a 30 percent global share, we continue to explore ways to lower our costs and improve our value proposition. We differentiate ourselves from our competitors in three major ways. First, we have developed the most advanced single-axis tracker in the market today, with capabilities that lower overall lifetime solar plant costs and directly address the solar LCOE. Second, we have a strong focus on our customers and their satisfaction globally. Lastly, we continue to innovate. NEXTracker moved from being the pioneering developer of the independent row self-powered tracker to being the first to develop a tracker and solar energy storage system, NX Fusion Plus, which we recently launched.
Q: What is NEXTracker’s strategy for the distributed generation market?
A: NEXTracker has significant experience in the distributed generation market with its flagship NX Horizon tracker system that addresses “behind the meter” projects under 20MW. Our DG team has deployed over 500MW globally with the US, Chile and Australia being its largest markets.
Our new vanadium flow storage and solar technology, NX Fusion Plus, is an excellent integrated application in those markets with high-demand charges and significant arbitrage between peak and base power costs and therefore there is significant value in “peak shifting”. For this purpose NX Fusion Plus uses flow batteries as opposed to lithium-ion, because they enable longer discharges with no long-term battery degradation.
Q: What are NEXTracker’s plans in Mexico for the near term?
A: Mexico is the largest and fastest-growing market in Latin America with 4GW in the pipeline. NEXTracker’s main focus is to become a leader in the Mexican tracker market and our flagship 750MW project that we recently started in Northern Mexico lays the foundation for this direction. Going forward we will continue to implement projects in that range, keep serving our clients with the highest quality of service and continue growing and improving our leading position in the region.