O&M landmark offers respite for struggling SMA

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Beleaguered inverter manufacturer SMA Solar says it has surpassed 1GW of operations and maintenance (O&M) service contracts since launching this new side of its business a year ago.

The German firm said it now had 840MW of PV in North America and 180MW in Europe, the Middle East and Africa under operational management, with further expansion planned.

SMA chief executive, Pierre-Pascal Urbon, said: “We built our plant-wide O&M product on the success of our already top-ranked service portfolio, which has become the gold standard in the solar industry. In the short time since SMA launched O&M services, we’ve been entrusted with some of the largest PV power plants in the world. Reaching this global milestone of more than 1GW of O&M signals SMA’s investment in this key market and is a clear indicator of the company’s leading status as an O&M provider.”

SMA said it had boosted its European presence through its acquisition last year of Phoenix Solar’s European O&M business. Although terms of this deal have not been disclosed, the portfolio includes contracts for projects in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

In North America, meanwhile, the company has under operation two of Canada’s largest PV projects, the 140MW DC Kingston Solar project and 130MW DC Grand Renewable Solar power plant, both located in Ontario.

The figures offer a welcome bit of good news for SMA, whose ongoing struggles in the competitive global inverter market have made a number of headlines in recent months. Most recently it announced plans to lay off an additional 1,000 staff this year, adding to the 600 it had already said would be cut.

A report published last week by US analysts, GTM Research, said diversification into O&M was one of the strategies inverter manufacturers would need to pursue in order to be able to compete in an increasingly tough environment.

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