Interview: Talking Solar, Energy Storage, & Inverter Trends with KSTAR Sales Director Mr. Lee
1. How much Inverters have you supplied to India in 2020, what is the target/expectation in this year and next year ?
We have supplied about 70MW solar string inverters in India in 2020. Most of our solar inverters are OEM for other brands and the direct sales of KSTAR own brand.
The Government of India has set a target of installing of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar. To keep pace with the economic growth in India, KSTAR decides to continue to support the solar business by providing high quality inverters and energy storage systems, especially solar rooftop projects. We have targeted 30% growth of our solar inverters installation in 2021 and 35% growth in 2022 in India.
KSTAR is a customer-focused company and has built up a comprehensive pre-sale and after-sale service team worldwide, including India. All the team members are experienced experts in the new energy industry. They are well-trained, always care about customer’s requirements. They are using their expertise and passion to provide the favorable and highly efficient service for all the customers and partners all over the world.
2. The hybrid solar-storage market has started to take shape, what are some of the technical considerations for project developers in this area, and how have you designed storage products for this?
Well. For project developers in hybrid solar-storage area, some of the technical considerations are technology maturity, efficiency, scale, lifespan, cost and applications, taking into consideration their impact on the whole power system, including generation, transmission, distribution and utilization.
CATL is the global TOP 3 battery manufacturer, and KSTAR is NO.1 China UPS manufacturer. CATL and KSTAR has build a joint venture named CATL-KSTAR in 2019 to support designed storage products with the higher quality and meet the international customers’ different needs. For the energy storage products, the joint venture uses advanced technology to maximize the harvest of electricity generation, like CATL battery solution + KSTAR inverter technology.
Residential energy storage hybrid system, commercial & industrial system and large-scale energy storage system are our target markets we focus on. All the designed storage products are integrated with CATL battery solutions and KSTAR inverter. A control and monitoring app enables seamless uninterruptible power supply and fast response times and can be programmed to benefit from time-of-use tariffs in markets where those apply; charging and storing energy when it is cheap and off-peak and allowing households to then use that power during the afternoon when it is more expensive.
3. India market is important to you, but which markets are you looking at internationally and how do you plan to target these markets?
India is important to us. The solar energy market in India is expected to grow during the forecast period. India has abundance of solar irradiance and receives solar energy throughout the year. This has created enormous opportunities to exploit solar energy from the sunniest sites in the country. The factor provides an opportunity for the growth of the solar energy market in India. Thus we are looking at internationally not only India, but also other Asian areas, Europe , Australia, Middle East and Latin America.
For Asia, Europe and Australia, we will focus on wholesale distribution target market. KSTAR launches new energy products the most up-to date single-phase KSG-D series, three-phase 5-20K, all-in-one CATL energy storage Blue series. Single-phase KSG-D series is intelligent and elegant for residential PV systems. It is simple and easy to use, high efficiency power generation, high reliability, much stronger adaptability. Smaller & lighter design brings great convenience for our customers. While BluE-S-5000D Series All-In-One Single Phase Storage Solution with CATL technology, under our offerings already to be launched, we are able to provide up to 5kW for residential applications, and from 50kW up to 5000 kW for commercial and industrial applications, smart solutions available for different configurations. For three-phase 5-20K, KSTAR will launch it for small and medium-sized roof -top PV projects in the near future.
For Middle East, KSTAR plans to target turnkey solutions and large energy storage solutions through expanding large-scale power plants and industrial projects. KSTAR smart turnkey solutions stand out from many manufacturers and suppliers. Its mature smart PV technology with innovation is widely recognized worldwide, like the powerful product GSM series, installed in 800MW PV projects in Russia and 320 MW solar-water based power plant in Asia, which were all using KSTAR DC 1500V Turnkey Solution— incorporates features Max. DC/AC ratio is up to 1.5, night SVG function, modular design for easy maintenance and full power output under 50℃. Besides, KSTAR is able to provide large energy storage solutions, like GSE-MV Series Turnkey Solution GSE5000-MV, which is highly integrated, including integrated converter, step-up transformer (10kV/35kV), with lower system losses, battery access management. In addition to that, GSE5000-MV is safe and reliable and grid friendly, suitable for extreme outdoor environment, effective forced air cooling, 1.1 overload capacity.
For Latin America, KSTAR plans to look for more opportunities with residential distributors and agents. We supply string inverters (3K-120K) there, which will be penetrating gradually in the local area. The model of our products there are the same as that we provide in Europe. Brazil and Mexico are big PV markets with great popularity. KSTAR has launched a new 1100V string grid-tied PV inverter with advanced features to support the adoption of high-performance bifacial modules for Commercial & Industrial (C&I) PV power plants designed to meet a wide-range of applications. The KSG-150UM/KSG-120CL series of inverters can be used in harsh environments with optimized performance harvesting.
4. KSTAR is launching new products this year. Can you talk more about these?
We will launch several new products; a 1500V string inverter for large-scale applications, 1100V string grid-tied PV Inverter, and an all-in-one single-phase storage solution BluE Series. The 1500 V string inverter is for large utility-scale power plants. The 250 kW inverter offers an efficiency of 99%, for a European rating of 98.5%. It has 12 maximum power point tracking (MPPT) channels and 24 string inputs.
For the hybrid inverter BluE series, combining KSTAR inverters with a CATL battery solution, the latest KSTAR all-in-one single-phase storage offering provides customers with an optimal experience.
5. What according to you are the current opportunities, biggest challenges, in Indian Solar Market?
One of the current opportunities for us in Indian market is the sharp decline in prices of solar technologies in recent years by more than 52% between 2010 and 2019, according to a PV media’s report. That has been one of the biggest drivers in the adoption of solar PV in the country. Our platform is mature enough to lower O & M costs. The topology is very stable and the components use famous international brands.
Moreover, KSTAR products have passed sound reliability and environmental tests, which greatly improves the product quality to enhance the stability and security, reducing the loss of electricity generation. During these years, KSTAR has continuously upgraded technological innovation, reducing the cost of products, simplifying the O&M process, extending the cycle life of the systems’ O&M, etc.
The current biggest challenge is the COVID-19 impact, which has witnessed on the supply of solar inverters and the delays in solar projects. The country was hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, our business is growing steadily this year although there is Covid-19 pandemic. We were influenced slightly by the Covid-19. Some major PV projects are delayed in India and the Middle East, but our ESS products developed in a joint venture with CATL have been sold well in Asia and Europe this year.
6. Present some noteworthy projects, case studies of solar plants built using your solar Inverters
KSTAR has 27 years experienced electrical and electronic technology background. KSTAR is devoted to new energy solutions for many years. Until now, there is more than 25 GW installation for KSTAR worldwide.
There are some noteworthy projects and case studies of solar plants using KSTAR solar inverters, like the 240 MW Pokrovska SPP in Ukraine in Oct 2019–The powerful KSTAR product GSM2500C-MV35 installed there, the 320MW (120MW+200MW ) solar-water power plant in Cixi Zhejiang China completely grid-connected with an expected annual generation of 352 million KWH, which were using KSTAR central inverter (GSL2500C-MV and GSL1250,High efficiency up to 99% ) solutions. Also one of the largest PV ground power plant 900MW in Pakistan, KSTAR central inverters were installed there and have a good performance for more than 5 years.
The utility PV solution from KSTAR incorporates high reliability of more than 99% availability over many years, easy installation and maintenance, low operation and maintenance cost, SVG function with fast response to the reactive power control.
7. String inverters continue to capture market share in the solar sector, what’s driving that and what technological innovations are you working on in this regard?
String inverters continue to capture market share in the solar sector. The market share of string inverters developing has gained significant growth across residential and small commercial establishments owing to their effective operational feasibility during these years, which is driving that and will still play an important role in the future. String inverters are already dominant in many global PV markets including Asia, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
Innovation can further improve the business case for string inverters in the areas of declining component prices, functionality and higher reliability, whose easy to install features, long-term benefits and much more offerings along with lower prices will drive the industry growth during the forecast period.
For residential string inverters, customers are likely to choose easy -installed, novel appearance and stable& reliable products. Energy storage all-in-one system will be the developing trend in the future.