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Fronius enhances its commitment to solar energy through European industry collaboration

November 22, 2023 6:46 pm

Fronius enhances its commitment to solar energy through European industry collaboration

Fronius, a pioneering company in the solar energy industry, has unveiled a visionary commitment to sustainable value creation in collaboration with the European solar sector. At the Production Power Summit 2023, the company shared its ambitious goal of ’24 hours of sun‘ and the critical role of inverters in photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Elisabeth Engelbrechtsmüller Strauß, CEO of Fronius International, in her opening remarks for the event, said, “As the heart and brains of PV systems, inverters are supporting elements of the power grids of the future and therefore of critical infrastructure. As a European manufacturer, we see this as a great responsibility that we consciously fulfil with proactive strategies and technological innovations. We are therefore especially pleased to have the chance to discuss opportunities for strengthening the European PV industry together with suppliers, distribution partners and installers, and – in line with our internationalisation strategy – to look beyond our borders to create a solid foundation for sustainable growth.”

Martin Hackl, Global Director of Marketing and Sales for Fronius‘ Business Unit Solar Energy, explained, “The situation for many companies in the European solar market is tense. We also feel this, especially since we’ve had to deal with our challenges in recent years.” He added, “It is all the more important to take systematic action together to strengthen our structures. In light of this, we have placed our production on a broad basis to increase the availability of European inverters dramatically. But this is only a first step because we will only be able to supply the European market with products from local companies if the entire industry demonstrates strong assertiveness.”

Production power on the right track

At the 2023 Production Power Summit, Fronius showcased its robust strategies for supply chain resilience. They highlighted their ongoing efforts to bolster production capacity, mainly through expanding their Sattledt facility near Wels. Over the past two years, the production area has nearly doubled, significantly elevating their output capabilities. They’ve tripled their storage capacity, ensuring a more robust product availability. Notably, an innovative logistics system now efficiently serves twice as many solar production lines with pre-assembled component packages. The testing process has been enhanced with automated final tests and a continuous load evaluation in an updated test centre, sending only approved devices to the dispatch area, backed by a new high-bay warehouse with fully automated storage and retrieval. Moreover, outgoing goods capacity has doubled, ensuring a higher volume of inverters reach their destinations daily, both nationally and internationally. Fronius remains dedicated to advancing production and supply chain efficiency.

Thomas Schmalzer

Strong roots in Europe

During the event, the company hosted a panel discussion featuring partners Thomas Schmalzer (TCG Unitech GmbH CEO) and Bernhard Fischer (ebm Papst-Motoren und Ventilatoren GmbH CEO) on enhancing European PV value chain resilience.

During this discussion, Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, was also welcomed on stage. “We are at a decisive point in the energy transition,” Hemetsberger emphasised. “Renewable energies must be expanded more quickly to maintain Europe’s competitiveness and energy security. PV will play a crucial role in this. At the same time, it’s important to strengthen European PV generation along the entire value chain in Europe. This also includes manufacturers of critical components for PV systems, such as inverters. Europe as a business location must be made more attractive again. We support the efforts for greater resilience of European supply chains. As a result, we are strengthening local companies and fostering their strong, innovative spirit. This is where we see our duty as the voice of the European solar industry – to the companies and society as a whole.”

Thomas Herndler, COO of Fronius International GmbH, described measures Fronius has already taken in operations to achieve this, pointing out that “a joint strategy for the sustainable supply of domestic and international markets by European companies knows no borders. In addition to expanding our production facility in Sattledt, we are also bringing production partners on board to manufacture inverters for Fronius at other locations in Central Europe – to the same quality criteria and standards that are applied at the plant in Sattledt, of course. This cooperation further boosts the scalability and flexibility of our production. This positions us perfectly to produce more than 70,000 monthly inverters in the coming year.”

Looking beyond the continent

Fronius, a family-owned company with Alpine roots, operates globally with 37 subsidiaries, and its Solar Energy Unit is active in 26. “Internationalisation has enabled our strong growth in the past and will continue to strengthen us as a European manufacturer in the future,” said Fronius CEO Elisabeth Engelbrechtsmüller Strauß. She added, “We monitor and know our markets very well and strengthen our position where we see growing opportunities. We have been represented in the United States since 2002 at our site in Portage, Indiana. We are currently setting up a new research and development department there, to be closer to the market’s needs. Products and features are further developed according to local requirements, making the on-site development department a trailblazer in producing customised solutions. The next step is to set up our production lines in Portage for inverters. By building a local network of suppliers, we create a sustainable value chain to optimise supply for the American and Asia-Pacific markets. By implementing this ‘local for local’ approach, we are enhancing the global resilience and healthy growth of our company.”

Partnership and cohesion are needed

What is needed to complement these strategic steps is a strong sense of togetherness in the industry, Hackl stresses. “Besides increasing quantities through expanded production capacities, we focus primarily on quality through partnership and service. This has distinguished us as Fronius Solar Energy for more than 30 years and what sets us apart from other providers. The basis for this is a strong network of mainly European suppliers, global sales partners and installation partners. Transparent communication and mutual trust make these relationships especially sustainable – which ultimately enhances the security and resilience of our supply chain and product availability, all the way to the consumer.”

Counting on Fronius

The summit highlights Fronius’ strong defence against rising competition. The company‘s balanced focus on quantity and quality positions them to excel in global markets. It provides diverse customer support through apps and a reliable service hotline, while product reparability enhances sustainability and durability. “With our well-designed portfolio, we offer prosumer markets exciting ‘plug and use’ solutions that can be used to perfectly manage the areas of electricity, heating, cooling and mobility. Demand for our products, therefore, remains unabatedly high,” Hackl said.

“Gen24 & Tauro productions have been increased, which means sufficient quantities of our inverters will be available to meet the demand of our partners and customers. Keeping our customers happy is our ultimate goal,” added V V Kamath, Managing Director, Fronius India.

Fronius

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