How Chile is harnessing the enormous potential of solar energy
Renewable energies on the riseThe Chilean government is fully committed to expanding its renewable energy base and has set itself the goal of obtaining at least 60 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. The current figures clearly show a positive development: 21 percent (as at April 2019) of energy is currently being obtained from renewable sources, of which solar makes up an impressive 49 percent.
In order to support this trend as effectively as possible, it is important for Fronius to be a partner with a local presence. A technical consultant expertly assists customers with everything from system planning and installation through to after-sales services.
SERVICE AS A TOP PRIORITYFronius has been active in Chile since 2012 and is extremely successful in the field of commercial roof-mounted systems in particular. The easy operation and commissioning of the tried-and-tested SnapINverters, 1000 of which are already in daily use in Chile for the generation of green electricity, are particularly impressive. Owing to its outstanding technical support, and not least the strong network of sales and service partners in Chile, Fronius has greatly increased its market share in recent years.
The sales partners in Chile keep spare parts in stock for the regional market too. “Our customers in Chile set great store by the quality and stable operation of our devices. Should servicing nevertheless be required, any faults can be rectified on site. This saves time and money,” says Camilo Belmar, Fronius Technical Consultant in Chile.
Among the Fronius Service Partners is Solcor Chile, who began working with Fronius two years ago. What differentiates Fronius from other suppliers? Alexander Decock, owner and General Manager of Solcor, gives a clear and concise answer: “The after-sales service based on the PC board replacement process.” Undisputed time and cost savings are not the only factors here: “Customers are also motivated by the fact that we are providing a specific service. We don’t just replace the entire inverter; we also repair parts of it.”
REGIONAL TRAININGIn addition to the service plan, Fronius also places a strong emphasis on the transfer of knowledge. Numerous companies from the north to the south have attended training sessions in Chile in recent years, ranging from the Fronius Service Partner qualification scheme to detailed product training. In 2018, 143 participants from Chile attended various Fronius training courses, with webinars also becoming increasingly popular. “In 2018 we offered 90 webinars in Latin America alone. Participants can learn about the latest trends in the solar industry or new product innovations from the comfort of their home or workplace. This is being very well received by our customers,” explains Camilo Belmar.
NEW DEVICES BRING NEW OPPORTUNITIESThis year, Fronius is introducing the new Fronius Primo GEN24 Plus and Fronius Symo GEN24 Plus hybrid inverters. These products mean that Fronius is now offering storage solutions for the single-phase and three-phase segments, as well as the higher power range. With need-based emergency power variants, which can operate with or without a battery, the Fronius GEN24 Plus delivers the highest degree of supply reliability for the home sector. One completely new innovation is the PV Point, which enables a basic emergency power supply without a battery. In order to supply the entire household with emergency power, the system can be upgraded with a storage solution at any time.
Another innovation is the Fronius Tauro, the robust commercial inverter with an output of 50 or 100 kW. A special double-walled housing enables operation in unsheltered outdoor locations, even in the extreme climatic conditions of Chile. The device is therefore also ideal for PMGD systems  in Chile. “With the Fronius Tauro, we are expecting a noticeable increase in our market share in Chile next year, including in the medium and large PV system segment,” explains Martin Schwarzlmüller, Area Sales Manager for Latin America.
Fronius Solar.web also continues to be of significant importance in Chile. The monitoring platform is a ground-breaking system that enables the customer’s energy flows to be visualised and has already gained 400 active users in Chile. Fronius Solar.web helps aid the end customer’s understanding of their own energy situation and very often results in other useful measures, such as the replacement of outdated electrical equipment or the retrofitting of an energy management system.
The increasing complexity of the global solar market not only poses daily challenges for Fronius as a manufacturer, but also for installers in particular. “The combination of electricity, storage solutions and mobility requires a holistic approach to every project. Our aim is to offer our partners the right tools so that they can provide every customer with the best possible support that is tailored to their needs. We and our partners are united in the vision of 24 hours of sun, a world in which we use 100% renewable energy. Every system we install brings us one step closer to this goal,” says Martin Schwarzlmüller.
 PMGD stands for Pequeños Medios de Generación Distribuida: projects with a capacity of up to 9 MW which may feed all the energy generated into the grid without restriction.