In what will be a significant confident boost to Sungrow, Conergy has announced it will buy inverters from the Chinese manufacturer for use in its global solar project pipeline, which currently stands at 3.4 GW.
In a statement released, it explained, "Sungrow products were chosen for their proven transmission efficiency, which maximizes power output; lightweight design, which shortens the installation time; and precise readings, which ensure quick service support if any issues arise." It added that "multiple" other inverter companies were considered.
The first project to benefit from the new partnership is a 5 MW ground-mount PV system, set to be installed in the "center" of the U.K. It will feature Sungrows SG60KTL inverter.
While Conergy could not say how many inverters will be shipped under the partnership, Oliver Schweininger, Conergy’s VP of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain told pv magazine, "Conergy did 300 MW last year and intends to grow very aggressive this year. The volume growth will be managed with selected key partners which qualify for the strict criteria of Conergy."
Announcing its Q1 financial results, Sungrow recorded strong international shipments of 230 MW and a positive net profit of RMB 68.9 million (US$11.1 million). Displaying a thirst for expansion, the company is said to be developing a 5 GW inverter manufacturing program and 220 MW PV power station, both thought to be in China, at a cost of $532 million.
IHS recently revealed in its latest PV Inverter Market Tracker that Chinese inverter suppliers are facing lower-than-average inverter prices as low as $0.07/W, compared to global averages of $0.16/W which may also explain why Conergy has opted for a Chinese supplier.
At the start of May, IHS senior analyst, solar supply chain, Cormac Gilligan told pv magazine that despite Chinas growing MW shipments, its largest inverter suppliers have still failed to achieve the revenues enjoyed by leading manufacturers from Japan, Europe and the U.S. "Inverter prices in China are considerably lower than average inverter prices in the rest of the world and, as a result, this impacts their [Sungrow and Huaweis] total revenue," he said
Overall, IHS said that on the back of a shrinking gobal PV inverter market, which contracted 4% in 2014, European and U.S. suppliers are finding the market tough, particularly in the face of stiff Asian competition, primarily from Japan.