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Astronergy: On Fast Track to a World-Class PV Enterprise

Interview with Chuan Lu, Vice President, Astronergy
Astronergy continues to research and develop the global thin-film industry’s sophisticated technology. Their comprehensiveness of what theyre able to provide gives Astronergy a competitive edge in the industry.
Chuan Lu, Vice President of Astronergy, speaks about how they has led China in the manufacture of high-efficiency thin-film PV modules.

By Jeanny H. Lim (swied@infothe.com)

 

 

Before we begin, please tell us about yourself.

My Name is Chuan Lu, Vice President and Board Secretary of Astronergy Solar. I am currently in charge of Astronergy’s company strategy, legal affairs and investment.

 

To help our readers understand you better, please give us a brief account on how Astronergy entered the solar photovoltaic business.

Astronergy’s parent company, Chint Group, has been engaged in electric business over 26 years and is the largest manufacturer and seller of low-voltage electrical products in China. As the whole world is facing tough issues such as energy shortage and environmental deterioration due to over consumption of fossil fuel, Chint hoped to catch this big opportunity of the booming development on renewable energy area and found out that Chint could utilize its rich manufacturing experience from electrical fields in PV industry. This is why Chint entered PV industry in 2006. And we made a successful debut as Astronergy into the international market in 2008.

 

Could you tell us some of the competitive edges that differentiate you from your competitors in the solar market?

Firstly, Astronergy is a technology-driven and quality-focused PV company. Our product range not only covers traditional crystalline cells and modules, but also includes high efficient thin-film modules. So far, the efficiency of our thin-film products by mass-production method has reached 10.3%, ranking the highest worldwide. This means Astronergy can provide complete product lines to our customers to satisfy different demands.

Secondly, in collaboration with its parent company, the Chint Group, Astronergy provides complete BOS components including inverters, array combiner boxes, DC protection, AC protection, and transformers. This has enabled the company to become copetitive in the industry to provide customizable PV solutions to satisfy a variety of photovoltaic needs, all from a single source.

 

What will be the growth strategy of Astronergy?

We can summarize the strategy in words as following:

-QualityOnly products with first-class quality can make the business sustainable and maximize the gains for our customers.

-TechnologyWe have assembled a talented and cohesive R&D team and set the long-term direction for the technology improvement both on crystalline and thin -film sides. Regarding thin films, we have achieved the efficiency with 9%. Its a significant advancement in the thin-film area.

-CostWe are keeping expanding our production capacity aggressively since the foundation to meet the surging demands globally. We believe scale production can bring down the cost significantly and finally achieve the grid-parity.

-ServiceWe have set up our subsidiaries or branch offices in Korea, Germany, U.S.A., and Spain to provide better logistics and after-sales services instantly and locally. It helps us a lot to stand out.

            

 

In the solar market, where would you put your focus this year in terms of both business growth and technology development? 

Germany, Italy, and the U.S.A. are still the top 3 markets for us and, of course, we see very strong demands from Asia and China, too.

 

What is your 2010 turnover and what do you think has contributed to that number? How much growth do you expect for this year?

The turnover is around US$280 million in 2010 and we expect a steep 300% growth in 2011.

 

What’s next at Astronergy as you strive to improve your expertise and expand your market share?

We will continue to introduce new products with higher efficiency at lower cost.

 

Which country/region is the biggest market for Astronergy and why?

Right now, Germany is still our biggest market but we made continued progress in diversifying our business away from Germany to other new large emerging markets. Clear FiT policy, mature market environment, strong support from the government side made Germany as the most attractive market for many years.

 

As a company headquartered in China, what are your expectations for the development of the PV market in China this year?

China is on the right path to developing its own PV projects with an expectation of 800 MW being installed in 2011.

 

What are your expectations for the development of the thin-film solar module technology in the coming years?

I think we can launch our new thin-film modules this year with more output and more attractive prices.

 

What have you been doing to grow your presence in the international solar arena?

We’ve actively participated in the trade events and seminars, and been a sponsor of some sports games.

 

Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to swied@infothe.com.

 

 

For more information, please send your e-mails to pved@infothe.com.

2011 www.interpv.net All rights reserved.

 
 

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