In Conversation With Maren Schmidt, Managing Director Utility Business Line at FIMER

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1. Please tell us about your recent inverter shipments and future targets.

We have been doing well in India in the utility, C&I and residential segments and also recently expanded our services into energy storage projects. Our installed base in India is >12GW+ spread across more than 5000 locations across the country. We foresee a bright future thanks to the push for 24/7 power encouraged by different government policies.

India has recently achieved the 100GW milestone of installed renewable energy capacity, with a further 50GW of renewable infrastructure under installation and approximately 27GW under tender. India has also enhanced its ambition to install 450GW of Renewable energy capacity by 2030, with The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) encouraging and issuing tenders for 2,000 MWh of standalone energy storage systems.

With such encouraging moves towards solar and renewable energy in the country, it is our ambition to support this growth with the advanced technology our solar inverters bring.

2. Please brief our readers on FIMER’s new high power string inverter platforms which are specially designed for the utility-scale market.

FIMER’s two new platforms for the utility-scale sector – a high-power multi-MPPT string inverter and a modular conversion solution – are designed to cater for both decentralized and centralized applications and cover 100 percent of utility applications.

The PVS-350 is the most powerful and power dense multi-MPPT string inverter in the solar industry, optimized for decentralized PV system architectures with a maximum efficiency of ɳmax >99 percent to ensure the highest energy yield. It also has the smallest footprint when compared to other similar products, and significantly reduces the risk of downtime that can occur with central inverters.

For centralized system architectures – which currently account for almost 40 percent of the market – FIMER has also launched the PVS-260/PVS-300, a fully-modular solution engineered with a single-MPPT string platform. It can easily replace central inverters in more traditional designs, significantly improving performance and lowering BoP costs, optimizing the LCOE – achieving a 2.3 percent reduction on the LCOE of a modular conversion architecture compared to a central solution. It also has higher system availability, above 99.9 percent compared to 99.5 percent maximum from central solutions.

In addition, the PVS-260/PVS-300 has a large capacity combined with super-compact design single MPPT power block, to enable system designers to keep a ‘centralized’ system architecture if preferred.

3. What is the current product range FIMER offers?

FIMER is the is the fourth largest, tier one, solar inverter supplier in the world and provides market-leading inverter systems across the utility, residential and C&I solar sectors, as well

as e-mobility solutions.

4. How important is R&D at FIMER?

FIMER invests heavily in R&D – it is part of our DNA. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve our solutions and platforms. This is demonstrated by the recent launch of our new R&D Center of Excellence for the utility sector in Italy, close to our manufacturing facilities in Vimercate.

This strategic move will enable us to increase our focus on solutions innovation while enhancing our responsiveness to customer needs. It also reinforces our strategy to utilize the capacity of our carbon neutral facility in Italy, with all resources combined in one site.

5. What is your view on energy storage and related inverters?

Storage is expected to play a key role in the future success of solar PV – not just for residential and C&I, but for utility-scale as well. The cumulative installed capacity of energy storage projects is expected to increase from 11 GW in 2020 to 168 GW in 2030, according to Bloomberg NEF’s New Energy Outlook. As batteries become more powerful and last longer, the switch from fossil fuels to solar PV renewable energy will be further supported, increasing overall demand.

Our new platforms have been specifically designed to easily integrate with future requirements for battery storage, providing a whole-system solution for the utility market now and in the future.

6. Your opinion on India’s inverter industry?

Increasing demand for standby sources of power across industrial and commercial applications is one of the key factors driving the Indian inverter market. Additionally, factors such as growing urbanization and the rising demand and supply gap of electricity are further propelling the market.

India has been a benchmark player in adopting renewable sources of energy, especially solar, leading to a growth of projects across the country. The Government of India has been very supportive towards local manufacturing of inverters in India. The imposition of 20% BCD on inverters has helped the local players to enhance local investment and boost local production.

However, we also believe that the government should look to extend the PLI scheme for inverter manufacturing as well. The recent cost increase in commodity prices has also impacted overall costs in solar projects with inverter manufacturers facing the brunt with module prices increasing at a rapid pace.

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