The Weekend Read: On Track for Broader Horizons

By on October 27, 2018

The global vertical integration of the PV tracker industry is accelerating, as players seek to build organizations that can provide manufacturing and support in multiple markets simultaneously. These partnerships tend to connect intellectual property assets with global manufacturing capability and construction and engineering teams that have the financial wherewithal to pursue international markets. The trend also is driving product line expansion, as in the case of NEXTracker’s offering of energy storage as an integrated part of its tracker design.

  | October 2018 Edition 

“The solar industry thrives on innovation, and tracker manufacturers are no exception. We’re increasingly seeing companies throughout the solar value chain sharpening their offerings to deploy more solar and investment,” comments Alex Hobson, Director of External Communications for the United States Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The most recent acquisition of a tracker company for geographic market expansion was the Valmont Industries acquisition of a majority share in Rome-based Convert Italia in August. The otherwise unspecified terms of the deal were secured through a cash infusion, according to Omaha, U.S. based Valmont.

Array Technologies, Nclave, NEXTracker, Soltec, and Sun Action are among other examples of this trend, driven by reduced costs and the accelerated global adoption of tracker technology.

NEXTracker sets the trend

NEXTracker, in its 2015 merger with Flex, set the stage for several similar partnerships. NEXTracker gained an infusion of $300 million, as well as manufacturing capabilities around the world.

“We attribute much of our success as the global market share leader in smart solar trackers to our global partnerships,” says Marco Garcia, NEXTracker’s Chief Commercial Officer. In September, Flex announced plans to set up production in Mexico to produce Enphase microinverters, according to a company announcement. Flex will begin to deliver Enphase devices produced in Mexico to the U.S. market starting in the second quarter of 2019.

At times, tracker companies are the driving partner in the integration process, and in other instances, they are the targets of larger companies. The strength of these unions will be key to which companies comprise the top five global players in a few years.

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