Risen Energy Australia (REA) has made a fairly big impact on the Australian solar market, especially over the last few years. What do you see as its biggest achievements over that time?
Archie Chen (AC): I can say that significant progress has been made in the Australian market since we began to seriously explore it in 2008. One of the achievements I would point to first and foremost is a strong brand presence by building up a large local team. From that foundation we’ve developed a solid distribution channel, and we’ve fostered key partnerships with our distributors and local retailers.
When it comes to market share, we are regarded as one of the top panel manufacturers and have consistently been recognised as a top PV brand by the industry. And of course, there’s the Merredin Solar Farm, which has really demonstrated our abilities as a developer and operator of successful large-scale solar projects.
When it comes to the utility-scale and rooftop markets, where does REA see itself in five years? And what is your strategy for getting there?
AC: We have already solidified our position as a tier 1 panel manufacturer, so our focus in the rooftop market now is to continue to grow market share. We’ll achieve this through a high performance yet affordable product range, not to mention the partnerships we build with our distributors and retailers. These partnerships will continue to mature over the next few years, especially due to our value-adding partnership program.
In the utility sector, REA will be focusing on the project development of battery energy storage systems (BESS), hybrid projects, and other renewable opportunities. We already have 1 GW of projects in our pipeline, and this number is still growing.
REA will not only be involved in project development but will also be actively involved in project finance, equipment supply, EPC management, operations, and divestment. We believe that by adopting this business model, we will be able to develop 3 GW and deliver 1 GW of renewable projects in five years’ time.
Still looking ahead, what technology do you consider a game changer in the Australian PV market?
AC: Our focus is on bringing n-type HJT technology into the mainstream. N-type panels offer greater efficiency and longevity than P-type and our ongoing investment in R&D is supporting more economic manufacturing which, in turn, is supporting more affordable price points. N-type panels will be the favoured technology in the coming years, facilitating higher performing solar solutions.
BESS is the other major disruptor and is transforming the solar market. Continual government funding, paired with increasing private equity support, is spearheading BESS into a new era. REA is making its own headway with BESS in the form of several large-scale projects at various stages of development.
Fundamentally, REA is an agile business; we are always exploring new technologies and opportunities.
What role is Risen playing in the development and roll out of these technologies?
AC: Risen is sitting at the forefront of n-type and BESS technologies. We currently hold a TÜV SÜD certification for our 700 W HJT hyper-ion series of n-type solar panels. We are the first company globally to be awarded this by TÜV SÜD, a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services. Moreover, our mass production capabilities ensure we are fully capable of meeting n-type solar demand.
At the same time, our BESS projects across Australia have been successfully moving along the development pipeline. Our Bungama BESS project was granted funding by ARENA last year. As we move to 2023, we only expect this and other similar projects to grow, and we’re fully capable of handling that change.
What are the top three things you want the market to know about REA?
AC: Firstly, I want the market to know about our proven ability and financial capacity to consistently develop top performing solar farms. Partnering in this space is a priority for us, and we will continue to seek and engage new partners to bring more utility-scale solar into Australia’s energy mix.
Secondly, the market should be aware of the quality, performance, and sustainable supply chains of Risen panels. Our panels hold industry-leading megawatt capacities and warranties, and our supply chains must adhere to our ESG policies.
Lastly, we have a strong on-the-ground team – one of the largest local teams of any PV supplier – and we work hard to provide a superior level of support to our retailer and installer partners.
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