With travel restricted, many missed the opportunity to attend the world’s biggest solar trade show, the SNEC, in Shanghai. The event took place on August 8-10 and was a largely “all Chinese” affair. pv magazine’s Vincent Shaw and Calvin Chong were on site and spoke to key supplier’s about their business strategies and technologies.
From pv magazine Global.
pv magazine: Thank you for the acceptance of this interview. My first question is what new products or solutions Ginlong Solis brought to SNEC this time?
Wang Yiming: We are promoting our latest 1500 V, 255 kW large inverter for utility scale PV plants and this product is ready for the global market. Additionally, we will introduce other new products, including single-phase high-voltage string inverters and three-phase high-voltage string inverters for storage systems, a combination where we see rapid growth in many overseas markets.
So how is Ginlong Solis’s market distribution? How much business comes from overseas markets?
Ginlong Solis has a quite balanced market distribution around the world. Our overseas business occupied about 60% of total revenues in 2019 and the other 40% came from China’s domestic market. Looking by regions, Ginlong Solis has covered most major PV markets and this keeps us stable and safe, and not influenced by the turbulence of any single market. This is our global layout and long-term strategy.
Which countries are key markets of Ginlong Solis?
I don’t want to mention any particular one, since I think those countries with large territories, large populations are the most targeted by Ginlong Solis. Unlike the previous policy-driven era during which our focus was on those countries with encouraging PV policies, in the grid-parity time we care more about market size and consumption power. Large countries naturally have a significant power consumptions.
How is Ginlong Solis affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
There were two obvious episodes of the outbreak. In Q1 [of this year] the disease mainly hit China, and we faced issues of recovery of production, supply chain and transportation. We tried lots of countermeasures and became one of the first manufacturers which recovered normal production. Since late March and through the entire Q2, with the spreading of the pandemic, the overseas markets were influenced badly. Frankly speaking, there was an impact to our overseas business. But after a series of communications with our customers, we soon recovered our normal sales since late June. Our half year revenue in H1 increased by 77% over last year and the net profit increased by 282% over H1 of 2019. This indicates the COVID-19 pandemic has little impact on us.
Since the rise of the string inverter there has been competition between two technical routes, how do you see the debate between these two types?
Statistics from major research institutes like IHS and Wood Mackenzie shows the continuous increase of string inverter in terms of market share, currently to around 60% of total. I think there are two major reasons for this change. One is the rise of distributed PV in not only China but also many markets globally, which utilised more string inverters. The second is more and more utility scale PV plants adopted string inverters and this is because the continuous cost reduction makes up for disadvantages of the string inverter. Also, with the technical improvement, the power of the string inverter increases. For example, Ginlong Solis promotes the 255 KW string inverter which was previously provided only by centralised inverters. Our 255 KW string inverter also features higher voltage.
PV + Storage is a trend and many inverter players have joined this new area, what is Ginlong Solis’s plan for storage inverters?
Ginlong Solis has three product lines of storage inverters. The first is photovoltaic-storage integration which combines functions of both PV inverter and power control. The second is PCS plus storage unit (battery) which is for the residential household market. The third product line is inverter with DC coupling to connect to the grid, which is mainly for the utility scale market. Ginlong Solis’s inverter portfolio covers all these three areas and we are prepared for the future market of storage inverters.
Well, it seems Ginlong Solis has already prepared many products and solutions for storage. Then how about the marketing and sales?
Ginlong Solis experienced fast growth in the past few years. We recorded over 100% YoY increase last year. Along with the development of this market, I believe there will be a fast development for both our products and solutions, but also our sales and marketing team. Ginlong Solis has three major markets: Europe, United States, and Australia. We have established a local sales force and branches in these three markets.
There is the view that significant potential remains for inverters to reduce PV system costs. What is your comment?
I think there are three aspects for inverters to help reducing the system cost. The first lies on the cost reduction on its own merits. Here I think the room is very limited. The second lies on functions added on by inverters to the PV system. As the only power management unit, the inverter helps the system to add more values. And the third is the system efficiency lift provided by inverters, which will result in the reduction of LCOE.
What is Ginlong Solis’s current production capacity for inverters, and do you have any expansion plans?
Ginlong Solis originally (before the IPO) had an annual capacity of 200,000 units and the funding from the IPO targeted another 120,000. But we had a very high capacity utilisation rate and that’s why we raised further funds through a private placement to reach 400,000 as our new capacity. As marketing and sales ramp up, we will plan new capacity expansion accordingly.
Author: Vincent Shaw
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