The CEO of Chinese solar inverter manufacturer Sofar, Rongfang Yin sat down with TaiyangNews Managing Director Michael Schmela for an exclusive interview during TaiyangNews & SNEC Solar Leadership Conversations at the recently concluded SNEC Conference & Exhibition 2023 in China’s Shanghai (click on photo to watch video).
Known as a leading supplier of string inverters, Sofar has also expanded into other avenues as storage and UPS for data centers in the 10 years of its existence. It has also expanded internationally to provide local services, for instance it has local teams in 11 European nations.
Yin said Sofar caters to all the segments as utility, residential and commercial with a vast product portfolio. The company uses DC-DC technology integrated into the storage component to make the end product more stable and manageable and support solar modules, giving it a long operational life. This, he said, differentiates its technology from the competition.
Since inverter cost of a total solar system is just 5% to 10%, hence these get less attention vis-à-vis solar modules. Yet, he argued, inverter is key to the system in terms of value that it brings to the installation. Storage on the other hand, is more part of the electricity generation side.
Yin believes both are equally important for a solar system and in the future, these will form a significant part of the PV ecosystem.
In times of rising competition, Yin believes any technology company can sustain successfully by investing in R&D to have top-notch technology, going global, focus on a diversified supply chain that’s a major cost contributor, and investing in right people.
In terms of the company’s strategy, Sofar ensures that the company always has 1/3rd of its people from the R&D stream.
As established cell and module manufacturers venture into storage business taking advantage of their global presence, Yin said the experience of being a pure-play inverter and storage company can be used by a company like Sofar to take advantage of, especially in distributed and commercial segments.
At SNEC, Sofar launched a new powerful string inverter and a storage system for utility scale segment. Yin said at Intersolar 2023, the company plans to launch more products.