Interview with Archie Chen (CEO), on REA’s impact in Australia
1. REA has made a fairly big impact on the Australian solar market especially over the course of the last few years. What do you see as its biggest achievements over that time?
Significant progress has been made in the Australian market since we began to seriously explore it in 2008.
We’ve successfully created a strong brand presence by building up a large local team, we’ve developed a solid distribution channel and we’ve fostered key partnerships with our distributors and local retailers.
We are regarded as one of the top panel manufacturers in Australia in terms of market share and have consistently been recognised as a top PV solar brand by the industry.
And of course, there’s the Merredin Solar Farm which has really demonstrated our abilities as a developer and operator of successful large-scale solar projects.
2. REA is involved in both the utility scale market and the rooftop market. Where do you want to see REA in five years’ time in each of those markets, and what is your strategy for reaching those objectives?
We have already solidified our position as a tier 1 panel manufacturer.
Our focus in the rooftop market now is to continue to grow market share. This will be achieved through a high performance yet affordable product range, and the partnerships we build with our distributors and retailers. These partnerships will continue to mature over the next few years especially due to our value-adding partnership program.
In the utility sector, REA will be focusing on the project development of BESS, hybrid projects and other renewable opportunities. We already have 1GW of projects in our pipeline and it is still growing. REA will not only be involved in project development but will also be actively involved in project finance, equipment supply, EPC management, operations and divestment. We believe that by adopting this business model, we will be able to develop 3GW and deliver 1GW renewable projects in five years’ time.
We are confident that we have the capacity and capability to take a leadership position in both the rooftop and large-scale markets.
3. What technology do you see as being the main gamechanger in the Australian PV market in the coming years?
Our focus is on bringing n-type HJT technology mainstream. N-type panels offer greater efficiency and longevity than P-type and our ongoing investment in R&D is supporting more economic manufacturing which, in turn, is supporting more affordable price points. N-type panels will be the favoured technology in the coming years facilitating higher performing solar solutions.
BESS is the other major disruptor and is transforming the solar market. Continuous government funding paired with increasing private equity support is spearheading BESS into a new era. REA is making its own headway with BESS in the form of several large-scale projects at various stages of development.
Fundamentally, REA is an agile business; we are always exploring new technologies and opportunities.
4. What role is Risen playing in the development and roll-out of these technologies?
Risen is sitting at the forefront of n-type and BESS technologies. We currently hold a TÜV SÜD certification for our 700W heterojunction (HJT) Hyper-ion series of N-type solar panels, the first company globally to be awarded this by TÜV SÜD, a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services. Our mass production capabilities ensure we are fully capable in meeting n-type solar demand.
Meanwhile, our BESS projects across Australia have been successfully moving along the development pipeline. As we move to 2023, we only expect these projects to grow, and are fully capable of handling that change.
5. What are the top three things you want the market to know about REA?
Firstly, our proven ability and financial capacity to consistently develop top performing solar farms. Partnering in this space is a priority for us and we will continue to seek and engage new partners to bring more utility-scale solar into Australia’s energy mix.
Secondly, the market should be aware of the quality, performance and sustainable supply chains of Risen panels. Our panels hold industry-leading megawatt capacities and warranties, and our supply chains must adhere to our ESG policies.
Lastly, we have a strong on-the-ground team – one of the largest local teams of any PV supplier – and we work hard to provide a superior level of support to our retailer and installer partners.