Benelux Countries stronger than Germany, says Michael Harre of LG
How was the year 2018 for the solar segment at LG Electronics?
Michael Harre: We were again able to record enormous growth in module sales. As in the previous year, we were able to increase our sales by 60 per cent to 262 megawatts throughout Europe. So we are growing much faster than the overall market.
Which markets in Europe were most important for you?
The German-speaking markets and the Benelux countries. However, for the first time we sold more modules in the Benelux countries. Both regions each account for around 25 per cent of our module sales in Europe.
Which modules were particularly popular in the Benelux countries?
Demand for our Full Black modules was very strong. Because of the twelve extremely thin front contacts, they are referred to as ‘pinstripe’ modules. We were always able to deliver and meet our customers' demand. You could say: We delivered like clockwork. Some manufacturers did not treat their customers as faithfully because the market was so overheated. That was out of the question for us.
Which modules were your top sellers in 2018?
Our Neon series now accounts for 80 percent of our sales in Europe. We offer three variants: with a white back film, Full Black with black back film and bifacial. About one 20 per cent of our module business is in modules with rear contacts. This went so well that we have stopped selling normal mono 300-watt modules with in Europe. Our customers do not want cheap products, but high-quality premium modules.
Are you planning to also introduce half-cell modules?
We had such plans, but our customers discouraged us. The junction boxes of these modules are in the middle, which can be complicated when connecting them. Such modules do not really look good with white foils. And half-cell technology only brings a power increase of five to ten watts. So we continue to use full cells and thereby further drive up output.
What new modules did you present at the Intersolar?
For example, we have been introducing new performance classes for the NeON modules, which we are increasing to 350 watts – from currently 335 to 340 watts. We have also put together complete packages comprising our LG modules, our LG storage system ESS and our LG heat pumps. There are hardly any other manufacturers who have so much competence beyond solar modules or storage within their own company. (HS/mfo)
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