Interviews – ?It took us 200 years to build the Chinese wall, can we wait another 10 years to populate industrial roofs in Spain with solar energy?

– The Spanish subsidiary of Chint Energy began its activity in 2011. What balance do you make of these years? Have your initial expectations been met?
At that time we dreamed that one day renewable energies, and especially photovoltaics, would no longer be an option but an obligation. Y this moment has come. Late, but it has arrived. Meanwhile, Chint has survived all the difficulties and this long crossing of the desert… many of those who were our competitors at the time have fallen by the wayside.

– The sector today mixes a feeling of euphoria due to the excellent expectations that are emerging for solar energy with uncertainty due to supply problems to meet demand around the world. As module manufacturers, do you think there is reason to be concerned?
At Chint we are increasing our production capacities from 5 GW in 2021 to 17 GW this year 2022, to continue growing and serving our customers. In Spain we have had no problems serving our established customers, that is, those companies that have been loyal to us and with whom we have worked for a long time.

– How will the supply crisis for modules and other photovoltaic components evolve? When will it stop being a problem?
The world situation is complex. We must not forget that we are at war, and we have not yet overcome the state of a pandemic. Even so, I am optimistic, and I hope that by the end of this year the international situation will return to normal to start a successful, unprecedented 2023 in which the photovoltaic sector will ‘erupt’.

– Have the modules become more expensive due to this crisis? What extent?
Everything has become expensive. It has become more expensive due to the high market demand and the difficulty of being able to cover the requests of our customers by manufacturers. That is why, today, more than ever, is the time to build customer-supplier relationships.

– How is Chint Energy’s FWPV25 supply security program being received?
This is a clear example of what he was saying. Our FWPV25 loyalty program is a security space for our clients, a life insurance so that they can continue making their investments in photovoltaics a reality. We are establishing relationships with guaranteed minimums for the coming years with companies that put security before spot markets.

– What market share of photovoltaic modules does Chint have in Spain? And in the world?
We have been in the Top 10 worldwide for more than 10 years. In Spain we are growing thanks to the supply guarantees with which we are working. I am sure that Chint will very soon be an option to consider in each and every one of the large procurement operations.

– The war in Ukraine and its effects on gas and oil exported by Russia have had immediate effects. The commitment to renewables will increase throughout the world. But concern is also growing because most of the industrial production linked to photovoltaics is in China and other Asian countries. And there are many who propose a reindustrialization of the sector in Europe. How do you analyze this situation?
Without a doubt, we will soon see production of photovoltaic modules in some European locations, the result of three situations. First of all, the desire to streamline logistics and supply operations. On the other hand, the need to offer greater guarantees in price stability. And third, to reduce dependence on China and other Asian countries.

Even so, the demand that we foresee for the next 10 years will continue to overwhelm the growth in supply. There is cake for everyone. For all of us who have maintained a solid position in recent years and will continue to participate in the enormous growth of the market.

– How is your forecast for the development of large plants in Spain? On occasion he has lamented the delays that occur in the administrative processing of projects. And it seems that the problem has worsened in recent months. What are your goals today?
Last month, in the framework of a business meeting with the Catalan Government Minister for Industry, Roger Torrent, he begged him to be able to reduce and simplify the administrative burden for photovoltaic projects. The Councilor shared our need and promised us that the Government is working on this line. We hope that from all the autonomous communities and town councils they row in favor of reducing deadlines and speeding up actions. Every day we lose goes against the well-being of our grandchildren.

– And in self-consumption? The managing director of Chint Energy in Spain, Jordi Padrós, recently said that in the next 10 years more than one million photovoltaic installations will be built in Spain? How many does Chint Energy want to make?
Chint has specialized in industrial self-consumption installations from 200 kW. We want to be a benchmark in industrial roofs throughout Spain. We still have a long time to go, but our Group, like good Chinese, is not in a hurry. It took us 200 years to build the Chinese wall, we can wait 10 more to populate the industrial roofs in Spain with solar energy (smiles).

– To make it easier, they also finance the installation of customers who so wish. How is it done?
We not only finance it, but we invest ourselves through our Investment Fund. After a few years we transfer the property to the client free of charge. It is a “win-win-win”, the client wins, Chint wins, the environment wins.

• This interview has been published in the June 2022 issue of Renewable energy on paper (ER 212), which you can download for free here