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SOLARDAY INCREASES ITS SUPPLY OF PHOTOVOLTAIC MODULES TO GERMANY
The Italian company Solarday, established in 2006, is a very young and dynamic enterprise which produces crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules. Up to now, it has not moved production from its original site, or manufactured abroad. Indeed, according to the company spokesman: “Neither do we intend to do so in the future”. He went on to explain that, in this highly technological sector, “Italian quality is still recognized worldwide. We want to export to those countries, continually increasing in number, which are adopting specific legislation to encourage solar technology”.
As well as producing standard photovoltaic modules, Solarday manufactures glass-glass type panels for structural architectural integration and non-structural architectural integration. In the first type of application, the panel is partly integrated into the target structure, and complies with European directive EN 12543, because it qualifies as security glass. In the second application, the panel is simply acting as a facing on the building.
Solarday employs 105 workers and in 2008 had a turnover of 58 million Euros. The company’s leading product is the “Solarday PX60” photovoltaic module, composed of 60 multi-crystalline silicon solar cells, each measuring 156x156 millimetres, which are connected in series. The most important and obvious characteristic of the PX60 is its specific power. It comes in three types: 210, 220 and 230 watts, and so, in contrast to the low-energy panels of the past, offers a great advantage in terms of the number of units required and consequent building and installation costs. The PX60 is chiefly used on roofs, car-park canopies or for photovoltaic fields. In 2008 Italy used the PX60 panels to create ground installations producing up to 3 megawatts. The company has recently responded to a customer demand for laminates (panels without aluminium frames), which can be integrated into architectural structures or installed on greenhouses.
The glass-glass type of panel is only produced to satisfy a client’s particular design requirements, or for structural integration into roofs or facades. The company can manufacture specific glass-glass panels which are customized with regard to power, thickness and strength. It is also possible to personalize the standard module, but the cost must be taken into account, including the fact that the product will require special certification, which is expensive in terms of both time and money. In this respect, the transparent PX60 modules, used on growing-houses or canopies, are examples of “ready-made” personalized solutions.
Solarday’s technical credentials make it strongly competitive, so, in order to launch more strongly into overseas markets, it has focused on organizing certification and distribution agreements. In January 2007, the company received certification by the German corporation Tuv, under the terms of the IEC 61215 standard. As Solarday’s representative explained: “We chose Tuv because we are particularly targeting the German market”. The company therefore has a long-term strategy, which was reinforced in January 2009 with the signing of yet another agreement with the PV Line Gmbh company, which distributes Solarday modules in Germany. PV Line, which supplies Germany’s most important installers and distributors of solar panels, reached agreement with the Italian company for the supply of 19 megawatts’ worth of panels over the 2008-2009 period. This result underlines the fact that in order to succeed in overseas markets, it is important not only to have an excellent product, but also to be able to rely on successful, expert local operators.
At present, 55% of Solarday’s turnover comes from abroad: its main export markets are Germany and Spain. In this way, the agreement signed with PV Line further consolidates the trend towards growth on the German market. The company representative informed us that they are already in the process of drawing up similar agreements in other E.U. or non-E.U. countries. So, despite the fact that the market is flooded with low-cost panels made in Asia, Solarday’s business stratagem, based on stressing the high quality of their product, has led to the company achieving an important position in Europe. In 2008 a 2-megawatt solar panel installation, commissioned by a French company, was completed in Spain, while in Germany, installations of Solarday modules now amount to a total power output of 5 megawatts.