SMA Solar Technology has announced that it will renew its investment in the U.S. with the addition of two new executives and plans to add many new employees with a major hiring push.
According to the company, this action is being taken in response to favorable market conditions and supports the company’s focus on supplying new inverter solutions across all major business areas in 2017.
“This is an important step at an imperative time in the U.S. solar market,” says Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA. “Reinvesting in and strengthening the U.S. sales group will ensure that we operate strategically, effectively and in the best interest of our partners. As the North American energy industry continues to evolve, it is essential that our organization is best equipped to serve this growing market.”
In addition, SMA will deliver a number of new innovative solutions over the course of 2017. The Power+ Solution began shipping last month and is redefining the module-level residential market by optimizing return on investment, not just module performance. The Sunny Boy Storage battery-based inverter solution will debut later in the year as the company refreshes its residential storage offering while also introducing new energy management functions.
Similarly, in response to the growing demand of the commercial rooftop market, SMA will soon begin shipping the Sunny Tripower CORE1, which features a high degree of system integration and can reduce installation time by up to 60%.
The company says it will roll out new, larger power classes within the 1,500 V Sunny Central family to provide a reduced total cost of ownership for utility customers, and a power conversion system will address the burgeoning need for grid-scale storage. New multi-vendor and battery-based operations and maintenance services will also be brought to market to round out the company’s utility offering.
“The U.S. has become an extremely attractive market. System price declines have made solar a fantastic investment,” says Urbon. “Homeowners, commercial entities and utility power providers have all recognized the financial and social value of solar power. They have also reached a tipping point in recognizing the critical importance of the inverter, which is driving a flight to quality in their purchasing decisions.”
To guide this strategic vision, Charles Ellis has been named vice president of distributed sales, while Andrew Mears will assume the role of vice president of strategic sales.
Ellis, previously SMA’s director of channel sales, has been with the company for more than a year. He has 20 years of experience in international sales and, for the past year, has been responsible for developing channel strategy in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
Mears, who previously held a sales role with SMA America from 2009 to 2013, will return to the company in a new role, with more than 25 years of global sales, business development and account management experience.
Both Ellis and Mears will provide continuity of leadership and will be empowered to improve the company’s response time to changes in the local market, allowing SMA to support its partners more effectively.
According to SMA, the next step will be launching a massive hiring effort for the U.S. subsidiary, with several roles being created to support the sales group. Key regions such as California and the Northeast will see significant expansion, as SMA will immediately move to fill key positions.