Interview: Filippo Carzaniga

Filippo Carzaniga,
Chairman at FIMER Group
 

“We have utilised the coronavirus pandemic time to focus on transitioning our operations and to create one team”

2020 has been a milestone year for FIMER. In our bid to create a bold new era for solar, we acquired ABB’s solar inverter business in March 2020, establishing our position as the fourth largest inverter manufacturer in the world, with a global footprint across five continents and operations in more than 100 countries. While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed the overall market, we have utilised this time to focus on transitioning our operations and to create one team, believes Filippo Carzaniga, Chairman (BoD), Fimer Group - world’s fourth largest inverter manufacturer, in an exclusive conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India. Carzaniga also discussed about his company’s product portfolio for Indian customers, their specialty, manufacturing capabilities under Make in India etc

“How do you evaluate the year 2020 for FIMER amidst ABB solar inverter business acquisition, coronavirus pandemic etc?”

2020 has been a milestone year for FIMER. In our bid to create a bold new era for solar, we acquired ABB’s solar inverter business in March 2020, establishing our position as the fourth largest inverter manufacturer in the world, with a global footprint across five continents and operations in more than 100 countries. While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed the overall market, we have utilised this time to focus on transitioning our operations and to create one team. Despite recent challenges, we are proud of the way we have worked to meet our customers’ expectations and deliver our products successfully across the world. Like a family, we remain close to our customers. We believe the successful businesses are carried out with competence, commitment, focus and passion and serving customers is our main priority. We also have a wider portfolio of products starting from 1.2 KW to 5MW which helps to cater to customers across a broader spectrum.

“For FY21, what is the FIMER’s estimated inverter shipment volume?”

We continue to maintain our leading position in market. The expected shipments for 2021, following our industrial plan integrated with synergies, are around 8 GW.

“What will be the FIMER’s next investment or expansion plans in near term and key target markets?”

FIMER has a bold approach and is committed to driving innovation and bringing high-quality products to market. We will continue to invest in new technologies to develop state-of-the-art solutions for customers in both the solar and e-mobility sectors. We recently unveiled our new portfolio of AC and DC charging stations and wallboxes, designed for use in residential and commercial applications. The new portfolio is developed to respond to customers’ needs and includes five purpose-built solutions which deliver high-charging outputs and outstanding levels of efficiency and flexibility.

“As FIMER has been operational in India since a decade and also export its ‘Made in India’ central inverters globally, what factors have contributed to this long association with India?”

FIMER has successfully operated in India since 2010. We are among the Top 3 market leaders in India when it comes to utility-scale projects. We are proud of our association with our customers and partners in India who have trusted us and continue to believe in our products and service. The proven reliability and performance of our solutions is a major factor in our success. Furthermore, our latest technology inverters have enabled us to maintain this market position. Our focus on customers’ needs and responding to their requirements is also a driving factor for FIMER. Even during the lockdown period during Covid-19, our team was fully operational and giving 24 x7 online support whenever needed. Customer satisfaction is our priority and we continuously work to achieve that. We are supporting India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s vision of achieving 175GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022 and working towards a self-sustainable India or “AatmaNirbhar Bharat” vision. We have a 5GW manufacturing plant in Bengaluru where our “Made in India” central inverters are manufactured and also supplied to global markets propelling India’s excellence into exports.

“India now issues tenders for Round-the-Clock (RTC) renewable energy power projects as well, do you think it will also expand the market for storage in India? What will be your strategy to tap this growing opportunity?”

We have a fantastic suite of product offerings ranging from Microgrids to storage across all segments of residential, C&I and utility scale projects. We are also associated with one of the biggest RTC storage projects in India, feeding power to an entire village and a temple on the west coast of India, currently under execution. We have worked with several developers in India on multiple village electrification projects for power starved villages especially in the eastern part of the country. Our strategy is to focus on such upcoming projects, to keep building relationships with our customers and continue to offer cost effective and reliable solutions for such applications.

“As India has varied climatic conditions, will FIMER inverters work for both extreme cold and extreme hot weather conditions? How do you provide after sales support services amid Covid-19 to the customers?”

Yes, our inverters are robust and well suited for high performance in extreme conditions, being installed across five continents in over 100 countries at different environmental conditions. As an example, we have recently supplied and installed our inverters for high altitude as well as seismic prone zones like Chile. Right from hot, high temperature desert countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia to extreme cold temperature like Antarctica or Finland, our inverters are designed for demanding applications and harsh climates, cutting maintenance costs and ensuring outstanding endurance. In India, one of our oldest installations in 2010 is in a Caustic soda manufacturing unit. Located on the north-western coast of India, Mithapur is a small, isolated town having hot, humid and windy conditions. Over 100,000 people in the town and surrounding villages are dependent on the factory, directly or indirectly for their livelihoods. With our inverters functioning properly, we are contributing to the success of the town. Providing a strong network of service engineers working all over the world, FIMER has 12 global repair centres and over 300 service personnel. In India, we have service engineers spread across all major cities. FIMER is committed to ensuring business continuity. We have been giving 24x7 online support to our customers for all projects at various project sites to ensure productivity is not impacted. Keeping our teams and our customers safe is our main priority and, due to Covid-19, our site engineers and channel partners have been advised to seek prior permissions before visiting sites. Strict health and safety protocols are in place and followed rigorously.

“As FIMER recently introduced AC and DC charging solutions in India, how do you plan to capitalize this segment?”

FIMER is entering the race for Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers with the launch of a comprehensive new portfolio of residential and commercial chargers. Built on our proven credentials in the EV sector, where we have already installed more than 30,000 solutions since 2017. For residential applications, the company introduces its new FIMER FLEXA AC Wallbox, a wall or stand mounted charger, which is available in three different models: Stand Alone, Future Net and Inverter Net. Each model has four possible configurations (3.7, 7.4, 11 and 22 kW) and two options, with socket or cord. For commercial installations such as parking lots and supermarkets, the company has developed the following solutions: the FIMER FLEXA AC Station, FIMER FLEXA AC Wallbox and FIMER ELECTRA DC Station. Suitable for public parking and highway services, the FIMER ELECTRA DC Station is a next generation fast charger for electric vehicles, that can simultaneously charge up to three vehicles. Based on the number of vehicles connected to the DC outputs, the charging station dynamically distributes its maximum power and can (in DC Mode) charge an EV in under 15 minutes. As part of FIMER’s commitment to green and sustainable mobility, the wallbox is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, making the solution not only functional, reliable, safe and flexible, but also environmentally friendly. In India we are closely working with regulators, EV manufacturers and service providers to boost our presence and increase our footprint.

“What kind of support FIMER expects from the Indian government wrt ease of doing business?”

The Indian government has an ambitious plan of achieving 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022. We are committed to working in partnership with the Indian Government to make sure that we continue to bring sustainable solar power and e-mobility to as many areas of the country as we can, harnessing the power of solar and electricity to drive a brighter future.

Interview 10/12/2020 by Manu Tayal
 
 
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