ArmInfo. Tomorrow, June 29, the official opening of the enterprise for the production of solar panels, which is first in the country and is named SolarOn (meaning "Sun") will take place in Armenia. Arsen Alaverdyan, founder of SolarOn, kindly agreed to answer the questions of ArmInfo on the occasion mentioned.
Mr. Alaverdyan, what is in essence manufacturing enterprise?
In short, this is an industrial and service company that produces solar panels and provides installation services for solar stations. If you open the brackets, then it should be noted that SolarOn - as the first manufacturer of solar panels in the country, will become a catalyst for the development of solar energy in Armenia. We have taken on a rather complex mission, on the one hand, to raise the awareness of potential users and to develop the demand for alternative energy, and on the other - to pave the way for the succeeding investors. In fact, we are missionaries and providers of new technologies. Until recently, solar energy was our sole prerogative for importers, who imported solar panels into the country, mainly from China. Now your company appears "domestic producer", an investor who decided to invest in production. If your task is to introduce new technologies, in particular, the development of solar energy, why did not you go on an easy and less risky road, that is, by importing equipment? When we talk about the development of a new industry, about the emergence of demand for a new product, and requiring long-term investments from the consumer, we can not do without guarantees. Let's remember that a solar station is not cheap. It pays off indemnity also not for a day, but for quite a long 5-7 years. At the same time, there is another long term - this is 30 years of the operational period, which in turn implies a long warranty and post-warranty service. So, in order to provide all this for the client, it is necessary, at least, for the entire period to exist.
In my opinion, only a manufacturer investing in production can speak on equal terms, from a position of risk, with buyers investing in the purchase of stations. Moreover, the very fact of investment in production, which in our case amounted to almost $ 2 million, already guarantees customers the seriousness, reliability and long-term solutions offered by us. And I see that this approach is more than justified. We are trusted, everyone comes to us and we are preferred by everyone who also plans to work in Armenia for a long time. In addition to the factors that have been voiced, there are still a number of serious advantages that only production gives. I will sound the most important - it is a guarantee of quality, as in production equipment is used that allows four-level testing of solar panels.
What does the production chain look like in the company? Whether you are installing solar panels or are only limited with production? What begins and where does the work with the customer end, at what stage is the point put?
The first ones who communicate with potential customers are our technical consultants. All clarifying questions are explained by them. Then the request is sent to the design department, where several options are developed, taking into account the main parameters - the amount of energy consumed, the area available for installation, even design requirements are taken into account. All this is provided free of charge and, after approval of the final option with the customer, the final cost is calculated, the contract is concluded and the request is transferred to production. After the production of the necessary panels and all the components, the order is taken up by the installers. And the already installed solar station is transferred to the service department, which monitors the status and operation of the station. Currently we are testing the SolarOn mobile application for plant owners, which will enable it to obtain statistics on the generation and consumption of solar energy. There will be many options in the application, but we will disclose the details when everything works. In the meantime, summarizing the answer, with your own words I will answer that we do not put an end to work with clients at all. We cooperate at all stages of the operational life of the solar station. And over time, we plan to expand the services of guarantee and post-warranty service.
What is your strategy in respect to corporate and private clients?
If we are talking about priorities, I will immediately say that there are no divisions. We are equally important to work with business, and with the private sector. We equally pay attention to large orders and small ones.
Do you plan to work with banks to provide leasing and loan proposals to buyers?
Yes, we are working with banks to develop a number of proposals either for businessmen and individuals. Moreover, several international funds interested in the development of alternative energy provided preferential credit lines to banks, which in turn lowered the lending rates for the creation of solar stations. That is, everyone who wants to buy a station today can use a leasing offer with low Rates and maturity of up to seven years.
Mr. Alaverdyan, earlier you announced that you are not going to stay in the Armenian market and are planning to arrange export. From which countries are you going to start an export epic and how do you assess the potential of the Armenian brand on the foreign market?
Literally in a couple of months, we will complete the process of obtaining a European certificate and will be able to enter the market of neighboring countries, in particular to Georgia, and in more distant terms - to export to Europe and the Middle East. The potential of the Armenian solar panels, I will say without false modesty, is huge. Already now we receive requests for the supply of panels from a number of European, African and Middle Eastern countries.
What plans does the company have in the long term? How do you see the development of the company and the industry as a whole? What players and services should appear in order for the industry to function fully and develop?
I see the development of the company in the opening of the research center, where our specialists together with foreign colleagues will work on new solutions, to develop solar panels of the next generation. We have big plans and expectations for the development of the industry as a whole. I am sure that companies that are involved in the production cycle will soon appear, for example manufacturers of aluminum frames, inverters and other components, and companies interested in the post-production cycle - for example, installers. In addition, together with the leading technical institutes of higher education, we have started the development of a new course for the training of engineers and specialists in the field of solar energy. I hope for the consistent participation of the state in the process of introducing and developing new technologies, as one of the priority directions for the development of the domestic economy.