Based on its recent analysis of the photovoltaic solar market, Frost & Sullivan recognises Soltecture GmbH with the 2010 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Entrepreneurial Company of the Year.
"In an intensely competitive market, Soltecture GmbH has transformed its business from a mere module manufacturer to a complete system solutions provider," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Neelam Patil. "Going beyond its core competency of producing high quality, thin-film solar modules, Soltecture now provides modules complete with mountings and cables, marking an enterprising transformation."
Soltecture GmbH's approach towards becoming a complete system solution provider is mainly focused on the idea of optimising the overall system cost and delivering more value to its customers.
For instance, the company's new flat roof system "Tectum", when delivered, is already pre-fabricated, laminated, directly glued to the sub-structure and completely commissioned with the cables already in the right locations for easy connection. Key benefits of this approach include easier, faster and more cost-effective installation.
Soltecture has also employed a differentiated sales model for mature and emerging markets. For emerging markets, the company is focused on educating customers about CIGS technology and Soltecture's German-made product line through, what the company terms, challenger distributors – distribution partners.
In mature markets, Soltecture has launched an online marketing platform where customers can access a highly sophisticated tool that takes into account the regulatory requirements of the roof. It designs the installation according to local legal requirements in each country, including all the paperwork.
"This is currently available for only one solution, although Soltecture is planning to expand it for all system solutions and across different markets so that users can benefit from a one-stop-shop experience where, at the end of the configuration exercise, clients can get a complete design and customised pricing for their project," remarks Patil. "This marketing platform reduces the need for field sales staff, while facilitating better control over the average selling price."
A continual focus on innovation has also been a hallmark of Soltecture's success. Among the various photovoltaic technologies, CIS is the only technology that has shown a lab conversion efficiency of over 20%. In 2010, the company started producing its generation 2 modules with selenium instead of sulphur to attain higher module efficiencies.
Soltecture has achieved champion module aperture area efficiency of 13.4% and continues to work on optimising other parts of the process. The company aims to reach 14% module aperture area efficiency by mid 2012.
"Soltecture definitely finds itself in the group of top contenders where only a few other competitors have achieved better efficiencies than Soltecture," elaborates Patil. "Based on the fact that the company has been doing the CIGSe technology only for around a year, the efficiency attained in such a limited period of time is indicative of its strong innovative potential."
The Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award is presented to the company that has demonstrated excellence in growth strategy and innovation, has achieved innovation with its products and technologies, has shown proven leadership in offering customer value and whose speed of response to market needs has been commendable.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
About Soltecture GmbH
Soltecture (soltecture.com) is a leading manufacturer of CIS-based thin-film solar modules and provider of complete system solutions for solar construction. Evolved from the thin-film pioneer Sulfurcell, important technological milestones have shaped the company history. From the early market introduction of thin-film modules based on CIS semiconductors in 2005, Soltecture has recently recorded efficiencies of 13%. The company has sold over 100,000 modules for projects in Europe, China, India, and the United States.
In recent years, renowned international investors – includin g Intel Capital, Climate Change Capital, and the of Vattenfall Europe- and GdF Suez-supported BEU Fund – have provided Soltecture growth financing amounting to more than 110 million euros. This fresh capial has been utilized for the construction of new production facilities and for research and development.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan (frost.com), the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents.