Shungfeng CEO applauds EPIA minimum price stance


China’s Shungfeng International Clean Energy Limited is nothing if not short of ambition. Having acquired a fleet of clean technology companies with module manufacturer Suntech at the helm, it is now positioning itself as a "one-stop solution" provider for prospective solar investors and EPCs.

Shungfeng CEO Eric Luo set out the plan, along with the company’s goal to provide a fleet of clean technologies at the first day of the SNEC trade show currently underway in China. The company will host a seminar on Tuesday at SNEC to elaborate on its integrated solution offering.

"Over the last two years, Shungfeng has changed a lot," said Luo. “There is a clear trend in this industry, moving from the manufacturing industry to the service orientated industry." While this indicates that Shungfeng will move away from pure module sales, Luo said that the integrated PV manufacturing at Suntech remains a key pillar of the company’s cleantech push.

Shungfeng is partnering with Huawei on the inverter front, with its provision of integrated solar solutions, but it also has its own inverter subsidiary in Sunways. Luo said that by controlling every aspect of the supply chain, Shungfeng can deliver PV power plant projects for which the power output is fully insured.

“We think the system improvement of the efficiency and power generation is the key for the next five to 10 years,” said Luo. “Previously people focused on cost, which is right, but now is the time to focus on the total performance of the solar farm and integration of services, including O&M.”

In pursuit of this goal, Shungfeng acquired Meteocontrol when it purchased parent group SAG Solarstrom in 2014. Luo told pv magazine that the wealth of data it has acquired across the 10 GW of installations for which it has provided monitoring is invaluable. Shungfeng hopes to increase that total to between 14 GW and 15 GW by the end of this year. A large team of Meteocontrol management and sales representatives are attending this year’s SNEC.

EU minimum price

While direct module sales will diminish in importance under Luo’s strategic vision for the company, the CEO welcomed EPIA’s move to speak out against the EU minimum price regime.

“I think from day one our position regarding the U.S. antidumping and counterveiling duties and the EU minimum price has been consistent. We are standing against trade protection. We are an anchor for free trade.” Luo said that he expected the trade disputes that have been a feature of the industry in recent years to subside this year and next.

“I think any country trying to protect its own photovoltaic industry is not going to deliver a win-win for either side,” said Luo. “That applies to the U.S. and it is why eventually Australia and India have dropped their trade cases. I hope Canada will also drop its case soon.”

Luo said that Shungfeng is continuing to invest in updating Suntech’s production lines by increasing automation and taking steps such as the recently announced move to four-busbar modules across its entire panel output. He said $50 million has already been invested in Suntech lines and more technology enhancements such as PERC and even HJT are in development.