PV Magazine: Thank you for accepting this interview. My first question is what new products and solutions did you bring to SNEC this time?
Ron Shen: We have continued to showcase our leadership in technology and industry at SNEC. We have always surprised visitors with our advanced products and this year is no exception. We have several innovative products on display that have left the audience feeling intrigued and fascinated.
Our MS series residential inverter is on display. It was launched in the first half of 2020 and has been well received by our overseas customers. With a high current input and 3 MPPT this product is truly exceptional and stands out for its quality and unique features.
In the C&I segment, we have put our HT series in the spotlight. With a product power ranging from 100kW to 136kW it can cater for our customers’ increasing need for high-power products.
Another game changer is our newly released 1500 V high-power utility-scale inverters (225 kW and 250 kW) for PV plants. This represents a major breakthrough for our company as we enter the utility segment with a strong technological background in the C&I segment and newfound market confidence from our IPO.
With regards to storage inverters, we also have great news. This segment has always been our strength. Last year we were ranked as World’s No. 1 storage inverter supplier by Wood Mackenzie. We have out A-ES series on show here. It is UL certified for the US market and has already started selling in Hawaii, USA.
What can you tell me about GoodWe’s international market distribution?
Our strategy has always been internalization. Since our founding in 2010, we started marketing and sales overseas. The China market has been one of our major markets since 2015. In 2017, we created our company motto “Where there is sunshine, there is GoodWe” and we started our re-internationalization. We now enjoy strong market presence and reputation in Australia, Europe etc. and have established strong cooperation partnerships with partners worldwide. Overseas sales currently account for approximately 60% of total sales, while domestic sales account for around 40%. Even with COVID-19, we expect great sales figures for 2020. So far, we have achieved 80% increase on YoY base.
Which countries are key markets for GoodWe?
More and more big PV markets are emerging all over the world. The two regions I previously mentioned were just two examples. Since 2019, European markets, especially Benelux, Germany, Czech Republic and Italy have been key markets for us. Another major region is Latin America, especially Brazil where GoodWe experienced a real market boom in 2019 and we see the trend continuing this year. We have also set up a local service team to serve local customers. In India, despite some initial setbacks, we also see great potential. India, Europe, Australia and Latin America are markets where GoodWe is already established and has a strong market presence, while the US and Japan represent two new frontiers. There are higher entry requirements in these new markets in terms of product specifications and solutions. We have only just got started here but we are confident we can replicate the success achieved in every other corner of the world. One more thing I would like to add is our new 1500 V high-power inverters for the utility market. This will give GoodWe access to countless opportunities in the near future.
String inverter’s market share has been growing exponentially. What’s your take on the everlasting central-string inverter debate?
We see a very clear trend. Both string inverters and central inverters have been growing in power. Just a few years ago, string inverters were mainly deployed on small-scale projects up to a few dozens of kW. However, that is no longer the case. We now see a growing number of companies launching models over 200 kW. The same has been happening with central inverters but with the rise of Chinese inverter manufacturers such as Huawei, Sungrow and GoodWe etc. since 2014, the proportion of string inverters has kept growing. End users prefer string inverters, and this is probably due to some advantages that central inverters cannot compete with, including higher efficiency and lower cost of O&M. We see more and more utility PV stations using string inverters, as well as distributed C&I projects of course.
Do you think string inverter will grab market share from central inverters?
Yes, the trend would point towards that direction but there will be a point where balance is restored. Since prices continue to drop significantly, we will probably reach a new market equilibrium. Central inverters do still have a following and different users have different needs. It is up to the end user at the end of the day.
Solar PV + Storage is a new trend and many inverter players have entered this new area. As a market forerunner and leader in storage inverters, what is GoodWe’s view of this market?
There is great potential in the storage segment and that is why so many inverter players have entered this field. Storage options have now been applied to many different scenarios including ground-mounted PV stations, distributed C&I projects and also roof-top residential PV, all for different business purposes. For large-scale PV stations, storage can help shave peaks and improve power quality. For C&I projects, it can improve off-grid utilization. I believe the combination of PV, storage and charging will be a very powerful application. In the residential area, storage will have more application scenarios. In this fast-growing renewable energy world, storage is becoming more and more important. Storage is the core element that connects each component of a smart energy system. Until now, from industrial statistics, we can see that the share of storage inverters is only around 2.5% of total inverter market. So, there is still lots of potential and we expect the market to boom in the next few years. We saw the turning point coming last year and we know it’s just the beginning.
Do GoodWe’s storage inverters only apply to chemical storage? How about other types of storage?
The storage type is not the most relevant aspect. What we are mostly concerned about is the safety and efficiency of the system. We measure our success on how safe the system is and on the efficiency between the inverter and the PCS, as well inverter and battery. That is more important than the storage type.
What is GoodWe’s current inverter capacity, and do you have any expansion plans?
GoodWe has already initiated expansion procedures for added capacity. Currently we have two production bases in Suzhou and Guangde. As we reach a higher production capacity, we will achieve production by sales.