“It’s been a good year for us,” Sungrow Australia country manager Joe Zhou tells EcoGeneration, estimating market share of the residential market in 2019 between 10 and 15%. But the past 10 years, since the inverter-maker entered the Australian market, have been pretty good all over.
Sungrow is the biggest manufacturer of inverters in the world, with annual capacity or more than 50GW. Storage is the next step, he says, but it may not happen quickly. “It’s not a big business at the moment, but we are preparing ourselves,” he says. “We want to do more storage here.”
When the conditions are right storage will grow “very fast,” he says, although there are concerns about revenue and payback periods. If batteries costs go down, in two or three years the projections for residential storage will definitely increase – twofold to threefold.
This will be encouraged by negative pricing for energy, he says. As the price differential between peak and off-peak widens owners of storage will be more likely to make money. “It’s very good business,” he says.
Delays for approvals between six and 15 months make it difficult to plan for seamless delivery of utility-scale solar projects. Sungrow has 4-5GW in projects that are being held up, Zhou says, meeting requirements of AEMO grid performance studies. “Planning of projects is blocked because of the GPS [grid performance studies],” he says. “It will be smoother if AEMO can publish the new regulations and make it easier for inverter manufacturers to complete a GPS and escalate the project.”
Storage now is expensive, but as prices fall it will be recruited to solve problems in PV projects. “If you can connect storage it can release the load,” he says.
Zhou spoke to EcoGeneration at the All-Energy Australia conference and exhibition in Melbourne in October, where the company was showcasing its PV and energy storage portfolio. It was also a great opportunity to sign a 100MW residential agreement with Australian distributor Prosun Solar and show its range of residential inverters, ranging from 2kW to 10kW.
One example, the residential hybrid inverter SH10RT, is customized for an optimal performance with compact design and innovative friendly end-user interface. For commercial, industrial and utility-scale PV applications, the company showed its multi-MPPT commercial inverter SG110CX and the powerful 1500 Vdc string inverter SG250HX.
The new energy storage system solution ST556kWh-200UD, a joint-venture of Sungrow and Samsung SDI, is deployed already as part of a 500kW/755kWh project in Cervantes, Western Australia, and a 250kW/548kWh project in Adelaide, South Australia.