SolarQuarter Africa magazine got a fantastic opportunity to interview Andrew Tyler – Sales & Business Development Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), GoodWe Power Supply Technology Co.,Ltd. and learn about their inverter products and operations and business. He also spoke about the new technology in the solar inverter market globally and especially in Africa.
Please tell us about the types of inverter products that GoodWe provides in Africa.
Goodwe offers a Wide range of Inverter & Energy Storage solutions which can be used in various applications from Residential to C&I Rooftop & Utility scale. In Africa, our offer consists of Hybrid/Storage Inverters from 3.6KW – 10KW in Single-Phase & 5 – 50KW in 3- Phase, Grid-Tied Inverters from 3 – 6KW in Single-phase & 4KW – 250KW in Three-Phase and lastly, we offer Energy Storage solutions in both Low Voltage & High Voltage.
How have GoodWe operations and business been through the pandemic?
The Pandemic has been a big challenge on overall business operations. We have seen raw material costs due to Global component shortage put pressure on our products costs. Shipping into Africa has also been a challenge with volatile shipping costs, container shortages and regular ship cancellations putting major pressure on delivery times to customers.
It has been quite interesting to see how successful we can still be conducting remote Video Meeting with customers vs traditional face-to-face meetings. There is still value in visiting our customers in their home country however and I look forward to border’s opening more so we can return to normal and visit our customers in their country.
Overall, we have seen continued growth through the Pandemic and are very grateful for the continued support from our loyal customer base.
What is the new technology in the solar inverter market globally and especially in Africa?
Technological innovation is GoodWe’s main core competence and as such our ability to develop & improve on our products for our customers is extremely important. We have seen some fantastic products be released by our team with a few more exciting products to come in 2022.
For Residential, we have seen a move to larger KWp rated Hybrid Inverters in our region so Goodwe designed our EHB Series specifically for use on the African continent. It offers a 5 – 10KW Single-Phase Inverter, 50% DC oversizing, up to 4 x MPPT’s and offers an “Installer Friendly” design making it easy to install.
For Commercial & Utility, we have also seen a move to larger Inverter sizing with various other technical improvements. Our HT Series offers up to 120KWp for Commercial Roof Top & up to 250KWp in Utility Scale Ground Mount with some exciting new products expected to launch soon. Our HT Series offers 50% DC oversizing, up to 12 x MPPT’s, 10% extra AC Power (120KWp can output up to 132KWp) & Industry leading Temperature derating.
How different is the African market dynamics compared to the other international markets?
The African Market has a lot more challenges to contend with vs other more mature international markets. These challenges are mainly to do with financing, knowledge & Regulatory frameworks. This offers an opportunity to provide the solution to each of these challenges and open a market with unlimited potential.
Goodwe has been selling our Inverters in Africa since around 2015 so we have a good understanding of the market & where our products need to excel.
As a market forerunner and leader in storage inverters, what is GoodWe’s view of this Solar + Storage market?
The Energy Storage market offers quite an exciting opportunity for us in Africa. We face regular power cuts & general grid quality issues which mean traditional grid-tied systems won’t operate as expected. An Energy Storage system adds stability to the overall performance and provides power for a backup load in the event of a grid failure.
We are working on smart features in our Energy Storage products which will help with Smart Home integration and eventually Load management for C&I applications. Our Inverters will interactively work with smart devices to control loads and maximize the use of the PV plants’ production.
One of GoodWe’s main growth focuses is on the African Market and we are developing our Energy Storage range to achieve this. The first C&I Storage Inverter in our range is our BTC Series which is an AC Retrofit solution to add on storage to an existing grid-tied solution. We also will see a Full Hybrid Storage Inverter called the ETC Series to follow shortly after that which offers an exciting all-in-one solution for our customers. We should see these products available in the coming months with additional product development expected in the future.