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Growatt focuses on the distributed photovoltaic market: Q&A with David Ding, chairman of the company

Huawei Technologies and Sungrow Power Supply are global leaders in the photovoltaic inverter market, but another company, Growatt New Energy Technolog, focuses on distributed photovoltaic systems rather than string photovoltaic inverters used in large photovoltaic power plants.

Q: How does Growatt stand out in the PV EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) and operations/maintenance markets?

A: Huawei and Sungrow have gained a strong leadership position in the photovoltaic inverter market for large-scale photovoltaic power plants, but Growatt focuses on string photovoltaic inverters used in small and medium-sized photovoltaic power plants and rooftop photovoltaic systems, especially installation capacity. For below 5MWp, this is our clear market segmentation.

Q: With the global shipments of string PV inverters starting to exceed the centralized models in 2017, will the development of string PV inverters be limited due to the scale of installation capacity?

A: The string PV inverter can support power plants with a capacity of more than 1GWp, which means that the installation capacity is not a problem for them. Prior to 2017, centralized PV inverters have been the maintenance point for large PV plants, but since then, string PV inverters have become more competitive in operating and maintaining photovoltaic power plants.

Q: There is a large demand for the combination of centralized and string photovoltaic inverters in the Chinese market. Why?

A: For PV power plants with the same installed capacity, the use of centralized PV inverters can reduce costs, including replacing components in subsequent maintenance, but they are more suitable for flat areas such as plains or deserts. However, most large PV power plants are located in remote locations and maintenance and repair may not be easy. If the centralized PV inverter fails, the PV plant may stall and there is no revenue from electricity sales. For owners of photovoltaic power plants, total maintenance costs include not only maintenance costs, but also such loss of revenue.

The String PV inverter used in large-scale PV power plants provides flexible design according to the actual environment and has distributed MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) function to maximize power generation efficiency. Failure of a string or series of photovoltaic inverters will only result in partial failure of the system, rather than failure of the entire system, thereby reducing revenue losses. This is why string photovoltaic inverters replace centralized inverters for large photovoltaic power plants.

The combination of the two types may have both advantages, but the response is slower and is not conducive to the power connection to the grid. Although China's centralized and string PV inverter portfolio demand is relatively small, it is expected to grow.

Q: Will Grovatt develop a market for large-scale photovoltaic power plants? What is the next step in marketing?

A: Growatt has achieved success in developing markets in China, Australia, the Netherlands and Thailand, and in 2019 focused on marketing in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan and Europe.

Growatt's PV inverters have an annual capacity equivalent to 6GWp of installed capacity. In 2018, the sales volume is 3.3GWp, and domestic sales are expected to increase by 15% year-on-year. The overseas market will grow 50-60% in 2019. According to the demand in 2020, the string photovoltaic inverters used in China's distributed photovoltaic systems will increase by 50% year-on-year, and Southeast Asia will grow by 2-3 times. Growatt's goal is to increase total sales by 50% year-on-year by 2020.

Growatt is building a plant in southern China to expand its annual production capacity to 12 GWp by the end of 2019 and plans to establish another plant with an initial capacity of 1-2 GWp in Southeast Asia, but has not yet decided on a location.

Due to market segmentation, Growatt is currently not targeting large PV plants. The world's leading PV inverter manufacturers have been developing market segments for small or distributed PV systems for many years, but most users of these smaller projects are price-sensitive, so most are frustrated.

Due to effective market segmentation, Growatt does not intend to develop a large PV power plant market for the time being. The world's leading PV inverter manufacturers have been in the market for small photovoltaic power plants or distributed photovoltaic systems for many years, but due to insufficient demand, the PV inverter wattage ranges from several hundred watts to several kilowatts, and users are These products are sensitive and most of them are frustrated. In the market segment, Growatt remains competitive by providing quality and efficient support services to its customers. As country or region's needs change, Growatt caters to different markets by regularly providing professional training to sales agents in countries or regions. Growatt's experience in global business operations has enabled Growatt to quickly respond to the abnormal operation of its global PV inverters.

Q: With the parity of the power grid, the energy storage system is expected to boost the demand for photovoltaic power generation. What do you think of the development of energy storage systems used in conjunction with photovoltaic power generation facilities?

A: In LFP (lithium iron phosphate), ternary or other types of batteries, one or one will become the mainstream of energy storage systems, and will not be resolved until 2-3 years. LFP batteries have advantages in terms of production cost and safety, while the production cost of ternary batteries is declining and safety is also increasing.

Growatt also developed an energy storage system that focuses on battery packs and battery management systems for homes, factories and charging stations.

Q: With Growatt's reputation in the PV inverter market for its "one-button diagnostic" PV inverter and firmware capabilities, what kind of intelligent power management will Growatt create in the future?

A: Based on cumulative experience in business operations, Growatt continues to improve firmware to optimize solutions for customers.