“The market is doing well and stably”, says Michael Harre of LG Electronics
How would you assess this year’s Intersolar?
Michael Harre: People were in a really good mood. This year, what mattered was not just panel prices but also quality and attractive package solutions – particularly focussing on storage. Considering the great deal of interest, I presume that the market will continue to develop well and stably in the coming months.
What new products did you bring to Munich?
In our Neon 2 bi-facial panel the connection socket no longer covers up cells on the reverse side. Instead, in our new version it is very narrow and is mounted underneath the frame. This panels will be ready for distribution in late summer 2017.
You rolled out the new Neon R. What is that all about?
The R stands for rear electrodes: This panel no longer has electrodes on the front because that will reduce the losses due to shading. The Neon R allows us to generate as much as 365 watts from the front face of the panel.
What about all the other panels?
Because demand in the market is so strong, our normal and the bi-facial panels are sold out. To that end, we established three new NeON assembly lines at our Gumi site in Korea – in addition to a line for the Neon R models. This has raised LG Electronics’ production capacity to a total of approximately two gigawatts.
How many panels have you sold in Europe in 2016? What are you expecting for 2017?
Last year, we sold solar panels in the three-figure megawatt range. This year we are expecting to sell 50 percent more than that – or even twice.
What proportion of the European turnover goes to the German market?
That is roughly an even split: We achieve about 50 percent in Germany and 50 percent in the rest of Europe. We are quite happy with this distribution.
Which markets are of particular interest to LG Electronics?
In Europe that would be Germany most of all; followed by the Low Countries, France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Even the market in the UK has rallied – people are once again placing more orders.
How did the introduction of your storage system go?
Our storage unit is available since the beginning of this year. We originally planned to sell 600 units. By the end of this year we will presumably have exceeded that many times over. The battery has a capacity of 6.4 kilowatt hours and the inverter can achieve up to five kilowatts in output. By the end of the year, we will introduce a variety of twice that size, i.e. 12.8 kilowatt hours. And in 2018, we are going to roll out an energy management system. (Interview: HS)
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