Weathering the solar industry storm: How Growatt overcame 2021’s challenges

Growatt has been on an upward trajectory, recording an over 60% revenue increase in 2021, despite the many challenges posed in the solar industry. Lisa Zhang, global marketing director tells pv magazine how the Chinese PV inverter manufacturer overcame semiconductor chip shortages and rising costs amidst a global pandemic in addition to discussing key markets and new inverter products.

pv magazine: What are your thoughts on the 2021 solar market?

Lisa Zhang, global marketing director, Growatt: On the back of impressive global growth in the residential PV and energy storage markets, we saw a dramatic increase in sales in Europe and Latin America, etc. Our total revenues saw an over 60% increase compared to 2020.

How has Growatt dealt with the semiconductor chip shortage?

The shortage of chips was unexpected and had a negative impact. We have thus had many discussions with leading global chip suppliers and have established strategic cooperations with them to ensure supply. We have also expanded our supplier base for other components with tests and verifications being completed to enhance our supply chain.

How do you think the supply situation will pan out in 2022?

We think the situation will continue to be difficult and won’t be completely resolved this year. The capacity expansion of chip manufacturers takes time, and therefore it’s difficult for the situation to improve until that expanded capacity comes online.

Storage inverters are becoming a hot topic in the solar industry. What is Growatt doing in this area?

The storage sector is one of Growatt’s most important business sectors. On one hand, we have seen rapid growth in the renewable energy and Electric Vehicle (EV) markets around the world, which will push the development of energy storage. On the other hand, many countries have promulgated encouraging and supporting policies for energy storage. Another positive factor is the high residential electricity prices in western countries, and this also promotes the deployment of energy storage in residential solar systems.

Growatt is one of the earliest PV inverter producers and we first promoted our storage products back in 2015. Now we provide storage systems with DC- and AC-coupled solutions for residential and small commercial use. In 2021, we launched our “Battery Ready” system, and we allow our users to easily upgrade and install battery systems to establish safe, reliable, and efficient storage systems. Furthermore, our customers can build up their own home energy management systems to integrate solar PV, storage, electricity load, and EV chargers, etc.

By the end of 2021, we delivered around 3.7 million sets of our PV inverter and battery systems. Around one million active global users were connected to our cloud platform for daily operation and maintenance.

What solar markets are key for Growatt?

Presently about 75% of our revenue comes from overseas markets. We believe the Chinese PV market will continue to grow strongly, benefiting from the country’s ‘3060 Target’ and blanket rooftop solar program. This is good news for Growatt as we have strong competitive advantages in rooftop solar. Meanwhile, overseas solar PV and energy storage markets will continue to expand steadily, benefiting our sales growth and we expect our overseas revenue to continue taking a larger proportion.

The EU is our biggest overseas market, particularly in Holland, Italy, Germany, and other emerging EU markets. In Latin America, we have grown to be the number one brand in distributed generation in Brazil. And we have developed quickly in Australia and India.

What about the US?

We’ve been present in the United States since 2013 and we highly value this solar market. In 2021, Growatt launched the MIN 3000-11400TL-XH US inverter series, which can be coupled with our ARO storage battery for solar energy storage applications. We’ve also completed product tests and obtained product certifications for the market. In recent years, we’ve expanded our US team to serve American customers with dedicated local support. With continuing investments, we expect fast growth soon.

What is the current capacity of Growatt’s PV inverter manufacturing? Do you have any expansion plans?

Our current production capacity located in Huizhou Guangdong Province, China, can meet our shipment expectations. At maximum, we can deliver an annual capacity of up to 20GW of PV inverters and 400,000 battery modules.

What is the focus of your R&D?

Our R&D work is focused on two aspects: the first is to track industry trends closely for product innovations and upgrades, and the second is to ensure our products meet different requirements from different markets around the world.

What new products will Growatt launch in 2022?

In 2022, Growatt will launch its first storage system for large commercial applications. We’re also developing solar inverters that can work better with high-power modules.

How do you see the solar PV market developing in 2022?

According to IHS Markit, the residential sector will expand steadily in 2022 while commercial solar will see an annual increase of over 8%. Overall, we expect distributed solar to keep its growth momentum next year, especially in Europe, Latin America, Australia, China, and India. We also see the market trend to integrate EV charging and battery storage with solar PV applications continue in 2022.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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