Conergy delivers solar systems from a single source. As a system supplier, Conergy produces all the components for a solar installation under one roof. Offering engineering, procurement, construction and financing services, Conergy provides integrated and comprehensive services for the development of solar power plants. Listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange, Conergy employs more than 1,500 people worldwide. Since its establishment in 1998, Conergy has produced and sold more than 1.6 GW of clean solar energy.
The year 2011 has been a very difficult year for the entire solar industry. Despite the harsh market environment, Conergy believes it did a good job with stable sales and an 11% increase in its worldwide shipments.
Marc Lohoff, Conergy Management Board Member and Chief Sales Officer for Asia-Pacific, Middle East, North America, talks about Conergy¡¯s core strengths and strategy for 2012.
Reported by Jeanny H. Lim (email@example.com)
What is your expectation about how the global PV market will develop in 2012?
2012 will certainly be another very challenging year for the entire solar industry. Overcapacities and strong competition will keep prices under pressure. Strongest growth in the photovoltaic world market will be seen in Asian and the North American markets. Therefore, the international footprint of solar companies as well as their sales structures and services will become increasingly important.
Especially here, Conergy sees itself well prepared: Thanks to our early entry into the most important global growth markets, our sales teams are active in 40 markets on 5 continents. We think global and act local. Our sales teams dispose of a profound knowledge of the local markets already for many years as well as of a close-knit and well-established network of installers, wholesalers and partners.
In that way, we are always close to our customer.
Where would you put your focus in 2012, in terms of both business and technology development, and what is Conergy¡¯s strategy to remain competitive?
As a system supplier, Conergy focuses on its core strength: The original DNA of the company is its strong global sales and footprint in all important growth markets as well as the servicing business, which will become increasingly important in future. With 14 years of solar and system expertise, Conergy stands for high quality in both its product portfolio as well as in its service offerings.
The focus on these strengths ensures our competitiveness and success while, at the same time, reducing our manufacturing depth. Thereby, Conergy is making itself considerably less vulnerable to a possible additional fall in price. That¡¯s an important condition for the future profitability of the group.
The global solar market in 2011 suffered from substantial pressure on prices as well as overcapacity. The buildup of overcapacity, especially among Asian manufacturers, has had a damaging effect on the industry. How do you evaluate your performance in 2011 and how much growth do you expect for 2012?
In 2011, the entire solar industry has seen a very difficult and rapidly changing market. The market was far behind the expectations of all experts, research institutes or solar companies. At the beginning of 2011, for example, experts predicted a growing world market and a price decline of 15% for the entire year. However, what we have seen is close to the double of that, namely a price decline of more than 40%. Despite this difficult market environment, Conergy did a very good job, increased its worldwide shipments by 11% (9-month results 2011) and kept sales pretty much stable given the sharp price decline. Particularly positive was the development in the emerging markets in North America and especially in Asia where we increased our 9-month sales volumes by more than 60% and gained market shares.
2012 will certainly be another challenging year for the entire solar industry in which overcapacities and price pressure will continue. However, with our international sales networks, our well-established brand, the excellent service portfolio and the strategic reduction of own manufacturing depth we feel well-prepared to continue our course set.
Market analysts project that though Europe is stagnating, the American and Asian markets are performing well and this trend is forecast to continue into 2012. What is Conergy¡¯s strategy for Asia?
We are active in the Asian markets for more than six years and, therefore, dispose of a profound knowledge of the local conditions and developments. We also have a well-established network of partners for many years as well as several representative offices and units in Singapore, Thailand, India, Australia and the Middle East. Thanks to that well-established history in Asia, Conergy has shown a strong growth in those emerging markets in the last couple of years and we have been very successful. We expect this development to proceed and further strengthen our position by focusing especially on those areas and expanding our footprint as required.
Conergy increased its international sales during the first nine months of 2011 by 26% with a strong growth of 62% in Asia and the positive trend in Greece, Italy and North America. Can you tell us to what you attribute this achievement?
We attribute the increased volume sales development to Conergy¡¯s core strength: Our well-established brand which stands for premium quality, our large system expertise, our service offerings and the strong global sales network: Conergy is known for its high quality installations, products, systems and services. We deliver all the components necessary for a solar installation from one single source. Moreover, we provide our customers with one of the most comprehensive service packages in the industry: From system planning, logistics, financing, engineering and installing to insuring, monitoring, operating and maintaining, Conergy offers everything a solar power plant owner requires. In all these areas, we deliver what we promise and, thereby, deliver added value for our customers.
Through our strong international footprint and sales network, we are always and everywhere close to our customers¦¡a benefit for both sides that contributes to our successful sales.
As a company headquartered in Hamburg, what are your expectations for the development of the PV market in Germany in 2012?
Germany is a very mature photovoltaic market and so are many other European markets. The trend in the European markets is increasingly moving to the residential and commercial rooftop installations.
And here, we still see a lot of potential: In order to supply the entire German population with clean solar energy, a surface of 5,000 square kilometers would be necessary. Germany already features more than 2,800 square kilometers of rooftop surface ¦¡and one quarter of it would be technically accessible right away. Good business is thus still possible here in our opinion¦¡with the right product portfolio and with a very close-knit sales network in order to access the small private and the medium-sized commercial roofs. Conergy possesses both of that: Our partner installers are everywhere in the country. And our high-quality systems perfectly fit the requirements of rooftop installations. They are accompanied, for example, by a solar storage solution that allows the decentralized storing and consumption of energy where it is produced and needed¦¡without congesting the public grid. The German market is thus also in the future an important key market for Conergy which we will serve with the right product and service portfolio and our large partner network.
Installing a PV system is a complex job, requiring both technical expertise and the ability to navigate the thicket of permits and incentives to get your project approved and financed. What do you think makes your solar installation unique?
We have 14 years of experience, track record and reference PV projects all over the world. The long-term and unique expertise of our people combined with our high quality products and installations guarantees added value for our customers. We design, build and operate always with the benefit for our customers in our mind. Furthermore, we offer everything from one single source. Not only do we offer all components necessary for a solar installation but also one of the most comprehensive service portfolios.
What¡¯s next at Conergy as you strive to improve your technologies and drive solar power innovation?
As a system supplier, we permanently strive to deliver the best total solution which maximizes the output for our customer¦¡in his very market. The experience we have gained and we gain everyday being so close to our customers enables permanent improvements in our designs, solutions and installations. This makes our product and service portfolio tailor-made for all local customer requirements.
Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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