CEO interview: China's Mibet on maintaining PV competitiveness

PV Magazine: Mibet has a comprehensive solar PV system product portfolio, including ground mounted solar system, roof solar mounting system and floating solar mounting system installations, and racking and tracker systems. At what capacities do you manufacture your products, and do you have plans for expansion?

Chen Xi, founder and president of Mibet Energy: Currently, we have a manufacturing capacity of over 3 GW per year for racking and tracker systems. Our domestic manufacturing base is located in Xiamen, Fujian province because there is a comprehensive and stable supply chain in this area. We also have a small production base in the ASEAN region, which is mainly focused on the markets that do not have tariffs in place.

How many PV products do you ship overseas?

Since the establishment of Mibet in 2012, most of our orders have come from abroad. In 2020, around 80% of our revenue came from overseas markets and just 20% from the Chinese market. We have offices in Japan, Germany, and Australia to directly serve the local markets there, and distribution channels in many other markets, including Korea, the Middle East, and South America.

ground mounted solar system

What about the U.S. solar market?

As the second-largest single market for solar, the U.S. is important and Mibet began exploring opportunities there very early on. However, because of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws placed on Chinese PV products in 2014, we failed several times to successfully enter the market. With the change from the previous regime to the new Biden presidency, I believe there will be another chance for Mibet to enter this key market. The current obstacle is the Covid-19 pandemic, which has blocked personal travel and forced us to take our marketing activities online.

What are your considerations for the Chinese solar market?

Mibet is a well-known PV brand in the Chinese market with 2020 shipments totaling more than 1 GW. Usually, we like to work with landmark or significant projects here. For example, in 2020, two key PV projects we worked on were the Tianjin National Convention and Exhibition Center rooftop PV project, and the Xiong’an Railway station PV rooftop project, which is installed at the largest Asian high-speed railway station. We believe these landmark projects help to improve the value and image of the Mibet brand because being on the vendor list is an acceptance of our product by key customers.

What do you do to keep Mibet competitive in a cut throat market?

First of all, we look to continuously innovate our product range. Each year, we spend over 2% of our revenue on R&D, specifically factoring in customer needs and feedback. We also undertake third-party inspections and verifications to improve our credibility.  Secondly, we focus on the quality of our products. We have a strong team in charge of quality guarantees, including purchasing quality inspections, manufacturing process control, shipment inspections, and after-sales service. Finally, we believe we have an advantage when it comes to supply chain management. We have stable long-term suppliers for all required raw materials, components, and equipment. Some of them have worked with us from the very beginning. This not only provides Mibet with the best cost control of our products but also, according to our figures, we have at least a 5% cost advantage compared to our major competitors. This allows us to respond very quickly to changing customer needs.

Mibet recently launched a new floating solar system, the G4N. What are its major features?

Mibet foresaw the potential of the floating PV market several years ago and consequently began undertaking R&D and prototype designs for a floating system in 2015. After several generations of product updates, the latest version, the new G4N, has several major features. Firstly, it is comprised of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is environmentally friendly and non-corrosive. Secondly, it consists a series of other HDPE components, including support legs, walkway panels, and connection parts like plastic bolts and nuts, clamps, and anchoring block holders, which make the system highly flexibility in terms of deployment. Furthermore, Mibet provides various anchoring solutions for customers.

floating solar system

Due to the UV resistance of the HDPE, which prevents the components from normal aging, we predict that the G4N system will last for as long as 25 years. It has also passed a series of professional tests and certifications, including TüV’s raw material UV, and wind tunnel tests, the SGS Flame Retardant Test, and has obtained CGC Certification. In the past year, and despite the negative impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, we have shipped over 120 MW of this product to the ASEAN region, including Vietnam

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