Inverter maker Elettronica Santerno, a former unit of Italian industrial group Carraro, recently changed its name to Enertronica Santerno, after it was acquired by Milan-based EPC service provider Enertronica.
“The new company is now Enertronica Santerno, listed on the Milan stock exchange, and represents the new holding company of the former Enertronica Group,” CEO Vito Nardi said in a recent chat with pv magazine. Enertronica acquired a majority stake in Elettronica Santerno in November 2016.
The new company will mainly focus on the production of solar inverters, and while the EPC business will no longer be a core part of the business, it will not be entirely discontinued. “Due to the experience acquired over the last few years by Enertronica Group, the new Enertronica Santerno will include a new ‘industrial services’ business for turnkey solutions, based on Enertronica Santerno’s products both for industrial automation and renewables,” Nardi explained.
The company recently reached a weekly production rate of 40 MW, mainly due to increasing orders. “Our expectation is to reach a rate of production of 2 GW per year within 2021,” he said.
Nardi said Enertronica Santerno will capture about 6% to 8% of the central inverter market in 2019. This year, the company is expected to ship around 866 MW worldwide, versus just 126 MW last year, 133 MW in 2017, and 237 MW in 2016. It also plans to produce devices for the residential PV segment by the end of next year. “In the past, Santerno was an important player in this sector and we have over 30,000 inverters still operating after 10 years,” Nardi said.
When asked if the company also plans to produce string inverters for the large-scale solar business, Nardi said that the company believes that its centralized inverters will provide the best levelized cost of electricity on the market. It therefore does not plan to update its products for utility-scale applications.
The company may also open manufacturing facilities outside of Italy. “Considering the logistics costs and constraints in terms of local content and duties, Enertronica Santerno has the technical capability to open production facilities very quickly,” he said. “We have done so in South Africa, under the condition that local market growth is sufficient enough to justify the initial investments.”
However, Nardi also said that the company believes that production in Italy offers a number of advantages. “Quality-wise, it can outweigh the disadvantage of local costs in terms of taxes and labor,” he concluded.
Enertronica Santerno has secured supply contracts from Italy, Vietnam, Latin America, South Africa and Jordan this year.