SolarEdge Technologies shares with us its thoughts on how they are managing through the pandemic as well as insights into what the future holds with manufacturing and the solar supply chain.
Business Perspectives and the Impacts of COVID-19 - Q&A with SolarEdge
Q&A with | SolarEdge Technologies
How was your workforce directly impacted by COVID-19?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, SolarEdge offices around the world adhered to local safety guidelines and laws. This meant that many of SolarEdge’s employees worked or are still working from home. SolarEdge’s service and support teams continue to work at full capacity, while still adhering to the local safety guidelines. Our focus during this period has been to keep the lines of communication open with our customers through digital activities. We want to provide PV installers with the tools to boost their businesses during and following this challenging period. So for example, due to social distancing many of our planned roadshows quickly went online and were transformed into a series of LIVE webinars and online training sessions. The content focused on developing participants’ technical knowledge of our commercial and residential solutions, and enhancing installers’ ability to provide remote support to their customers.
What type if any supply chain disruptions have you seen and can you share an example of how you are overcoming these?
At the beginning of the outbreak, when the virus was confined to China, we took measures to increase manufacturing in our sites outside of China in order to be able to support our customers and best compensate for any medium and long-term effects that the Corona virus may have on our manufacturing capabilities in China. We are doing everything in our power to lessen to the greatest extent possible any impact the virus may have on our supply chain.
How are you seeing Robotics & Automation being used in the solar industry now?
Robotics and automation are key to sustainable growth. It is also essential to keeping up with the rapid expansion of the solar energy market. Automation enables us to increase our production capacity and remain price competitive, while simultaneously maintaining, or even improving, quality and reliability. As our global reach increases, another benefit of automation is geographic diversification. As more countries introduce solar friendly policies, we can implement automated assembly lines almost anywhere in the world, so we have the option to manufacture in locations closer to distribution and installation centers. This helps us to reduce both shipping costs and the CO2 footprint of manufacturing.
Do you anticipate implementing additional Robotics and Automation in 2020?
Yes, we are planning on implementing additional robotics and automation. SolarEdge’s Manufacturing System (SEMS) already includes partial automation, automated testing, and design for mass production. For instance, our power optimizers are manufactured by our automated assembly center. We are currently planning to move to full automation as part of SEMS 2.0.
Designed to be copy smart, SEMS 2.0 supports worldwide deployment and scalability, thus enabling geographic diversification and expansion. We will also be able to integrate SEMS 2.0 with our new business divisions, such as the UPS and EV powertrain business units and with Kokam batteries. Additionally, as part of this transition towards full automation, we are currently building a new, fully automated factory that will be in close proximity to our main R&D center. This will allow us to use this new factory as a testbed for innovation in manufacturing. In addition, it will leverage online data platforms and machine-to-machine (M2M) capabilities in order to make continuous improvements. The facility will also be a source for workflow processes, automation development, and scalability.
How do you anticipate adjusting to tradeshow cancellations? How do you anticipate continuing to reach out to prospective customers?
With the cancellation of many of the tradeshows, SolarEdge very quickly decided to host our own full, two-day virtual solar show in June. This platform will present an interactive space in which the solar community can see, hear, and engage with others about the newest smart energy innovations and learn from experts and industry leaders about upcoming industry trends, all at a safe distance.
SolarEdge is a global leader in smart energy technology. By leveraging world-class engineering capabilities and with a relentless focus on innovation, SolarEdge creates smart energy solutions that power our lives and drive future progress. SolarEdge developed an intelligent inverter solution that changed the way power is harvested and managed in photovoltaic (PV) systems. The SolarEdge DC optimized inverter seeks to maximize power generation while lowering the cost of energy produced by the PV system. Continuing to advance smart energy, SolarEdge addresses a broad range of energy market segments through its PV, storage, EV charging, batteries, UPS, electric vehicle powertrains, and grid services solutions.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
SolarEdge Technologies provides end-to-end distributed solar power harvesting and PV monitoring solutions, allowing maximum energy production for faster return on investment. The SolarEdge power optimizers perform MPPT per individual module while monitoring performance of each module. The highly efficient solar inverter is tailor-made to work with power optimizers. SolarEdge enables more power from any PV system, optimal roof utilization, a complete panel-level monitoring, and enhanced safety.
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