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SolarQuarter Africa magazine got an excellent opportunity to interview Phyllis Yang – Director of Southern Africa, Sungrow and received some great insights on Africa’s inverter market and Sungrow’s adaption to it. We also learned about their specialized inverter solutions suitable for different needs and their plan for the year 2022.
How has the inverter market changed in Africa after the covid crisis? How has Sungrow adapted to the new changes?
Now the whole world including Africa is still plagued by the pandemic, Sungrow in Africa is not the exception. The pandemic has affected the African market in 3 main ways,
- Manufacturing difficulties to meet the high demand,
- Supply chain issues and
- Financial pressures
Sungrow has been endeavoring to maintain the normal operation in Africa and keeps finding innovative solutions. The first strategy is constantly improving the product quality. Previously, African PV plants mainly used traditional inverters made by European suppliers. But now, Sungrow is steadily shifting the trend. Our innovative solutions and products performed well in BOS cost reduction, and the overall product quality has outweighed the current market standard. Therefore, our products own the competitive edges in the African market.
Secondly, Sungrow adopted a more organic growth strategy in the African market which has proved to be very successful. Our objective has always been to support customers with oriented and comprehensive solutions and services.
We have a localized service and sales team that prioritizes customers’ needs and prepare to serve them readily against the backdrop of the pandemic. That is why Sungrow still saw a market share growth in 2021 in Africa. Moreover, in 2021, we rank No.1 in inverter shipments to Africa. In addition, in 2021, we also seek new cooperation opportunities. For example, we appointed our first distributor in the Southern Africa market to better cater to the smaller EPCs in Africa.
How are your PV inverter solutions best suited for any market and especially the Africa market?
First, Sungrow boasts a wide range of inverter models to meet the comprehensive application scenarios, including utility, C&I, and residential. These solutions feature turnkey technologies that managed to minimize BOS costs.
Second, Sungrow’s inverters own high efficiency of electricity generation and excellent high-temperature resilience with IP65 and C5 protection to maximize yield.
Third, we have built a localized service team for better O&M so that we have a much-decreased failure rate.
Fourth, Sungrow inverter devices have robust grid support functions and fast response time. In this way, we can better adapt to the weak grid in Africa.
Last but not least, Sungrow owns abundant project experience in this market. We have commissioned hundreds of cases and all function very well till today, which certify Sungrow’s competence.
Tell us about Sungrow’s Power Conversion System/Hybrid Inverter solutions and their key highlights.
Sungrow has comprehensive, turnkey solutions including PCS, battery, EMS, and isolated transformers. The integrated system design enables faster installation. Our PCSs and batteries have different configurations and sizes, so as to satisfy various needs from all-tier customers. Our devices support both on-grid and off-grid modes. They are highly compatible with third-party DGs and accessories.
How are your floating solar solutions ensuring and improving the performance of floating solar plants?
Firstly, it relies on the robust durability of floating products. For Sungrow, our floating products have been authorized by TUV with over 15 tests, which verify that they can sustain the 25 design lifetime. Meanwhile, we have our own labs in the factory, and we invariably go through a very strict process of material selection. We test each batch of the material to make sure it is qualified then we can apply it into the production, which helps to guarantee the quality of the product.
Secondly, it depends on the reliability of the anchoring system. We meet global load calculation requirements such as EU code, Japanese code, US code, so we can install our products in different regions. We also proceed with the anchoring analysis and simulations, especially on the coupling load to check whether the floating solar will be operated safely under different weather conditions. Worth mentioning, recently, Sungrow anchoring calculation methodology has also been verified by DNV, further validating our quality and reliability.
What is the total Inverter capacity supplied by Sungrow in Africa? What are the plans for the year 2022?
For the first question, it is about 680MW.
For the 2022 plan, Sungrow will focus on providing more customer-oriented products and services. After all, Sungrow’s core value is to support and empower customers. We will improve the current service and sales team in Africa so that they can better serve our customers. Besides, Sungrow aims to increase its market share in both C&I and Utility markets. As Africa’s renewable energy market is emerging and developing, Sungrow also wants to get more opportunities in Southern African’s residential segment. Possibly, we want to cooperate with more distributors for this end.