LONGi has made significant impact in the Netherlands since first entering the Dutch market in 2018. In 2019, its business grew sevenfold compared with the previous year, placing it in the country’s top five players. By end of 2020, LONGi business in the Netherlands had increased by an impressive tenfold. This significant development comes largely as a result of the company’s cooperation with Netherland’s leading distributors -BayWa, Natec and Solarclarity - relationships built from 2018.
Over recent years, LONGi has become the benchmark for product transformation and LCOE optimization in the global PV industry due to its breakthrough monocrystalline technologies. As of the end of 2020, the company’s production capacity for monocrystalline modules had reached over 30 GW. LONGi is rated the world’s most valuable solar technology company.
Why the Netherlands?
At the end of May 2018, China’s “531” policy was announced, effectively halting the country’s fast-developing PV market in its tracks. LONGi, foreseeing a rise in global PV demand, immediately made moves to accelerate its activities in overseas PV markets and restructured its business units and market regions accordingly.
As part of this strategy, LONGi made its first venture into the Dutch market and forged partnerships with the country’s biggest distributors. At the same time, the company made rapid progress in cooperating with developers in the distributed and ground-mounted EPC segments, participating in multiple projects.
As of the end of 2020, LONGi’s market share in the Netherlands stands at a remarkable 20%. The Dutch market is typically dominated by distributed generation and, with increasing annual demand of 2.5~3 GW, it has a mature structure and ranks among the top five markets in Europe. The Netherlands is an indispensable part of LONGi’s presence in Europe, underlined by housing its European warehousing center in Rotterdam, home of Europe’s largest seaport.
According to Dennis She, LONGi Senior Vice President, "by maximizing its geographical advantages, the branch in the Netherlands will develop into a logistics center, therefore becoming a key pillar of LONGi's business in Europe." Mr. She went on to say that localization of operation is a key principle and policy for LONGi to expand its global presence, with the branch in the Netherlands aiming to provide seamless service for its customers through local hiring of logistics, finance and sales staff. The Netherlands had, he continued, seen rapid growth in large ground and distributed PV power stations in 2020 and this would continue in 2021. The innovative water-based PV model had also attracted growing interest in the form of floating PV power stations.
In addition to its significant investment in the Netherlands, LONGi has branches or local sales teams in Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK, underlining the importance of Europe to the company’s global ambitions. Mr. She pointed out that LONGi has already developed a comprehensive presence in European markets and done well in both distributed and ground-mounted segments, with data from several third-party agencies suggesting that the size of the European market will continue to grow over the next five years.
‘No secrets in Solar’
"There are no secrets in solar. It is about leadership, people, technology advancement, insightful understanding of each market, having best-in-class products that deliver the highest power, reliability and value and being close to our customers and partners," added She.
Over the past few years, LONGi has redoubled its commitment to innovation in technology and product R&D in order to deliver more modules with lower electricity costs and more efficient power generation. During the same period, the company has launched a series of increasingly efficient and reliable products globally. Their low attenuation, excellent power generation and low BOS costs make LONGi products a success in global markets, favoured by customers.
LONGi is currently the only AAA-rated module supplier in PV Tech’s ModuleTech Bankability rankings; it has won the "High Achiever" Award in the 2020 PV Module Index by the US Renewable Energy Testing Center; it carried off a TÜV Rheinland “All Quality Matters” award and was given the highest Altman Z score of all publicly quoted pure-play solar manufacturers by Bloomberg NEF.
Mr. She sees two reasons for LONGi’s recent doubling of annual shipments. Firstly, global customers recognize the value of reliable and efficient products and, secondly, markets have become more rational, with the concept of steady and sustainable development continuing to prevail.
Mr. She ended by stressing that, in the era of grid parity, global customers are in urgent need of high power modules that delivers higher power gains and value. He underlined that LONGi will continue to lead the technological changes in the PV industry with breakthroughs and innovations, deliver more efficient and reliable PV products and adhere to the concept of "Solar for Solar" to contribute to progress towards global carbon neutrality.
Note: This interview was first published in Chinese by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency