Inside ABB: PRO-33 global rollout a symbol of Power-One integration

It has been around 20 months since Swiss power and automation giant ABB absorbed one of the global inverter leaders, Power-One. This month, ABB will roll out its PRO-33 string inverter globally, in what it says is an important indication of Power-One’s successful integration into the global company.

The global inverter landscape is one in flux. Former top-10 manufacturer SolarMax announced its insolvency in November and SMA is taking drastic actions to return its accounts back into the black.

ABB has made a bold push into the market and its acquisition of Power-One for $1 billion in April 2013 has instantly positioned it as one of the leading global suppliers of solar inverters. It believes the former Power-One’s experience in the market and ABB’s global reach leaves it ideally positioned to develop and sell inverters into the emerging PV markets that are growing in importance.

However, executing on this strategy was never going to be easy, and bringing two organizations together always presents a range of challenges, including aligning the business cultures within the companies. ABB’s head of the power conversion business unit Otto Preiss believes that this month’s global release of the PRO-33 string inverter is a compelling symbol of the successful integration.

"We are now in the first roll out of the PRO-33," Preiss told pv magazine. "It is a string inverter that we had originally developed in ABB. When we merged and put the teams together we decided that it will be produced at the former Power-One facility in Italy. Now it is being shipped from there."

Preiss continued that the project demonstrates how the former Power-One team’s experience in the string inverter market will help with the PRO-33’s rollout, while the product itself is a great example of the technical innovation within ABB.

"With the PRO-33 roll out, we have a real case demonstrating synergies and integration utilizing the very dedicated sales force of Power-One, particularly for residential string inverters, using the smart development from ABB, and the execution engine of the Power-One factory in Italy to get it produced," said Preiss. "It’s a nice example of the integration really coming together."

As a part of Power-One’s integration into ABB, former president of Power-One’s Renewable Energy Solutions business Alex Levran was recently promoted to the position of head of ABB Group’s Industry Segment Initiative Solar. In his new role, Levran works across the company’s relevant business units to leverage the entire ABB solar value proposition around the world.