Daniel Duque
Project Manager
EXEL Solar
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Wholesale Distribution Goes Beyond Selling Solar Equipment

By María José Goytia | Mon, 08/01/2022 - 09:15

Q: How has EXEL Solar remained a leading supplier of photovoltaic solar system components in a highly competitive market?

A: We have maintained our leading position thanks to three factors, the first of which is EXEL Solar's vision of the market. In Mexico, the market still lacks professionalization. It remains a fairly young industry and many players still do not understand their roles. In this regard, we stick to our role as a wholesale distributor. EXEL does not install systems for end customers; instead, it brings on dedicated installers. This allows us to have a clear and efficient relationship with both our customers and our suppliers, maximizing our competitiveness in the industry.

Second is our customers' trust. EXEL Solar does not sell a product and then disengages. It aims to sell solutions, as reflected in our internal slogan: "We do not sell boxes, we sell solutions.” We conduct in-depth research on the needs of each customer and find the ideal solution, even when that means selling fewer products. This transparency of the solutions we offer has earned us the trust of our customers.

Finally, we have a strong R&D area, which is always at the forefront of new solutions. The global energy industry is gigantic, with companies continuously launching new products that are not always technically or commercially suitable for the Mexican market. EXEL Solar takes innovations from the market and tests them in its laboratory to prove their viability in Mexico, or it adapts them so they can be used here.

 

Q: How has EXEL Solar adapted to Mexico's shift in energy policy over the past three years?

A: Our main market is Distributed Generation (DG), which is not the main target for changes in energy policy. Certainly, at the industry level, these issues affect us. However, customers have preserved the vision of pushing DG below 0.5MW forward. Therefore, this segment has maintained its uninterrupted growth. As this trend in DG continues, EXEL Solar has focused on continuing to bring the required products to Mexico and maintain an inventory to prevent delays caused by international supply chain problems. With our increased inventory volume, we are ahead of any disruptions that the solar value chain may face, as has been the case in the past two years.

 

Q: How are the company’s operations in Mexico distributed geographically?

A: We have seven branches throughout the country. Our headquarters are located in Merida. From there, we have a presence in Mexico City, Tijuana, Chihuahua, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Queretaro, where our distribution center is located and our logistics operations are centralized. We are the only wholesale distributor in Mexico to have our own distribution center, which we founded in 2021.

We chose to centralize our logistics operations in Queretaro because of its excellent road connectivity with the north and south of the country and its beneficial security indexes. The space Queretaro offers also allowed us to establish a competitively-scaled distribution center. Previously, we had our operations based in Mexico City, where we were strongly affected by security problems and traffic issues. Getting in and out of the country's capital is difficult. In Queretaro, we have gained greater agility regarding transportation.

 

Q: How has EXEL’s XL Store transformed e-commerce in the solar industry?

A: We decided to make an early commitment to e-commerce. We developed the XL Store so that our customers have the option to make their purchases online. The store is not yet 100 percent operational, as customers are not yet very familiar with this form of shopping. However, we are convinced that online shopping is the future. This sales channel will make operations and communication with customers much more agile. In addition, our online store makes it easier for our customers to see our inventory in real time. Other benefits include the ease of automated billing and payments. Our goal is to reach a point when our online store can deliver products within hours of purchase. Our sales still have a high human interaction factor. We are promoting training for our customers so that they will feel more comfortable with this digital sales channel and can take full advantage of the benefits of e-commerce. By the end of 2022, we want 30 percent of our transactions to come from the digital environment.

 

Q: How do your engineering services complement your role as a wholesale distributor?

A: Our engineering services fall within our vision of "not selling boxes but solutions." We have an exclusive department focused on projects in the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) sector. Our goal is to support our customers through a win-win philosophy. Many times, the wholesaler or supplier wants to sell more to its customer. We are changing the focus, looking to ensure our installers gain more customers. The more projects the installer closes, the more likely it is for it to choose EXEL as its supplier. Our C&I department seeks to provide engineering support to assure these installers are on top of their project proposals. Our engineering service is tailored, including support throughout the development of the entire project for partners and specific feedback from the engineering departments of the installer.

 

Q: What strategies does EXEL Solar implement to strengthen its relationship with its suppliers and improve customer service?

A: EXEL Solar always tries to be close to its customers. All product warranties are processed through our company. We do the same with our manufacturers. EXEL aims to be the service and warranty center for its brands. We inform our manufacturers of our intention to have the warranty processed by EXEL Solar from the beginning, so we also work with them to strengthen our service center. This allows us to provide a direct service to our customers, which manufacturers cannot always provide. This is where the wholesale distributor strengthens its role as an intermediary, using its position to provide a better service experience to customers.  

 

EXEL Solar is a Mexican wholesale distributor in the solar industry with experience since 2008. The company provides access to high-tech products and solutions that promote distributed generation in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Photo by:   EXEL Solar
María José Goytia María José Goytia Journalist and Industry Analyst