Jim Burns is the Director of Sales for Delta Products Corporation’s PV Inverters Power Systems Business Group. In his role, Jim is responsible for expanding and managing Delta’s customer base and partner relationships across the Americas. He has over 20 years of power conversion equipment sales experience resulting in profitable growth, increased market share, and customer satisfaction across multiple market segments. His 10 years of renewable energy sales experience includes strategic global and national accounts with utilities, developers, EPCs, integrators, distribution channels and engineering firms.
Jim holds an MSEE and BSEE from the University of Illinois, is author of five IEEE papers, and holds two patents.
Vishal Sapru (VS), Research Manager for Energy & Power Systems Group had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Jim burns (JB), Director of Sales at Delta products Corporation.
VS: Can you start by providing our readers a brief overview of Delta Products Corporation?
JB: Delta Products Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Electronics Incorporated. Delta’s focus and leadership in Power Electronics and Power Conversion technologies began almost 50 years ago. Today, our global revenue is approximately 8 billion USD.
Delta’s combined global operations include 38 ISO-compliant manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, China, Thailand, India, Mexico, Brazil and Europe. We also have 60 research and development centers across the globe and 153 sales offices on five continents.
Our gradual transformation towards green solutions has significantly increased our worldwide revenue and improved gross profitability, which is currently above 25%. In the past few years, Delta’s market capitalization has increased from 7 billion USD to 13 billion USD.
As a publicly traded corporation, our audited financial reports are available for public viewing which allows customers to make an easy and informed decision when selecting a bankable inverter partner.
Since 2009, Delta has globally deployed over 4GW of high reliability PV solar inverters to Tier 1 developers, utilities, integrators, EPCs, distributors, and PV inverter manufacturers. Inverter manufacturers, integrators, and Delta continue to mutually benefit from our private labeling agreements established over the past years.
This year, we have invested in branding our PV solar inverters under our Delta logo for the global marketplace, and in particular, within North America and US regions. This has been mutually beneficial to our end customers and Delta from a pricing and margin perspective, respectively.
VS: Please describe your product/technology/solution for our readers?
JB: Delta Products Corporation’s continued mission is to provide innovative energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow. All of our products and services are conceived, designed, produced and delivered under this corporate mission. We constantly strive to increase the efficiency of our products, such as our renewable energy PV inverter portfolio, which is currently rated at 98.8 percent.
Delta’s highest power rating, first to market, UL listed 80kW string inverter has garnered significant interest within C&I and Utility scale markets. Our complete three phase UL listed string inverter portfolio includes six models from 80kW down to 24kW.
Delta’s disruptive string inverter technology with respect to price per performance has allowed us to engage in 200MW of projects with the recent release of our UL listed string inverter portfolio.
String inverters versus central inverters allows for improved project design flexibility, ease of installation, faster delivery due to short lead times, lower cost commissioning and O&M servicing performed by less skilled labor having no impact on inverter warranty.
VS: What are Delta Products Corporation’s greatest challenge and what strategy is in place to overcome it?
JB: The greatest challenge for Delta as well as all manufacturers of solar components, which include panels, inverters, racking systems, and other BOS components, is the continued overall price pressure within the solar marketplace.
The race to lower pricing regarding all-in project costs significantly affects hardware, software, service, and financial models where only the strongest companies with the ability to innovate will survive long term in the PV Solar marketplace. This affects upstream Developers and EPC’s and not just solar component manufacturers.
As testament to the only static item in solar being ‘change’, and specific to inverter manufacturers, our industry continues to witness the evolution of global inverter manufacturer rankings over the past five years.
Satcon’s bankruptcy and liquidation, Advanced Energy and others discontinuing inverter manufacturing, additional 2016 US inverter manufacturing site closures or consolidation by European inverter manufacturers such as SMA, ABB, Ingeteam and Bonfiglioli, and the emergence of high quality Asian manufacturers over the past five years continues to change the inverter landscape.
Delta’s greatest strength is its ability to excel at product innovation through our best in class R&D investment spend. Our R&D investment is approximately 6 percent of total revenue.
Being first to market with cost effective and value add technology – such as our 80kW UL listed three phase inverter for C&I and utility scale markets – allows Delta to stay ahead of the competition. This is a direct result of our continued and significant R&D investment.
VS: What is the unique value proposition of Delta Products Corporation and what are your key competitive differentiators?
JB: Delta’s unique value proposition is our 50-year legacy focused on high quality power electronics and mission critical power systems including renewable energy, telecom, data center, and clean green focused technologies.
Delta’s supply chain operations have been fine-tuned and leveraged across our target market segments to produce and manage JIT cost effective power electronic components, products, systems, and solutions at manufacturing facilities owned and operated by Delta stakeholders.
Our ability to control our own destiny in technology, quality, reliability, delivery, service, and cost and share such attributes are our key differentiators in ensuing our and our customers’ success.
VS: Continued innovation is the key to success in this growing industry. How is the process of innovation managed at Delta Products Corporation?
JB: Delta’s ongoing corporate commitment in R&D allows our continued success in product and technology innovation.
VS: What do you want the company to accomplish in the next couple of years and how would you define success for Delta Products Corporation?
JB: In less than five years, Delta will be a top three global PV solar inverter manufacturer, with the US market contributing significantly to this ranking.
VS: What is your key value proposition that provides your firm a major competitive advantage over other players in the industry?
JB: As previously noted, Delta’s ability to control our own destiny through technology, quality, reliability, delivery, service, and cost and share our attributes are our major competitive advantages in ensuing our and our customers’ success.
While Delta is focused on power electronics and systems, our core business is spread over several markets segments such as renewable energy, telecom, data networking, and thermal management. In addition, our associated revenues are geographically spread over a global basis.
This allows Delta to weather storms from a global geographical disruption perspective such as credit and currency issues, government incentives, as well as regional macro events due to political issues or monetary policies specific to certain countries.
Delta can buffer the negative effects of the aforementioned concerns due to our focused risk abatement strategy regarding our target markets served, our engagement with a global customer base, and associated worldwide revenue accumulation. Simply put, while Delta is a power electronics and systems focused company, we do not rely on one specific market segment nor do we rely on one geographical area for our growth strategy.
VS: Could you elaborate on the acceptance or adoption of your product/solution in the marketplace and are there any positive client testimonials that can be shared with us?
JB: Delta was recently awarded 35MW of projects using our 80kW three phase string inverter in Los Angeles with initial commissioning in early Q4’16. It’s too early to share specific details, but as the project continues to move forward we hope to be able to further share the scope of work and the results with our partners
VS: Do you foresee the acceptance of your product/technology/solution in the marketplace to have an influence on the direction of the overall market going forward?
JB: String inverters versus central inverters or power stations allows improved project design flexibility, ease of installation, faster delivery due to short lead times, lower cost commissioning and O&M servicing performed by less skilled labor having no impact on inverter warranty.
Delta is simply offering a very cost effective tool for our customers’ consideration and use. Every customer is unique in their advantage over their competition, and our technology is being accepted as a path to this competitive advantage.
VS: As a general conclusion, what do you think the future holds for such solutions and, more specifically, what role can we expect Delta Products Corporation to play in shaping the future of the industry?
JB: EMEA and Asia Pac regions have already embraced three phase string inverters in large C&I and utility scale applications while the NA marketplace has just started to accept it over the past few years. The analogy and progression is viewed as similar to 600V technology moving to 1000Vdc, it will be commonplace in the US in the near future as developers, EPCs, and off takers require the value add offered by three phase string inverter technology.
Delta is making this transition easy by offering best in class price per performance three phase string inverters which are parity or better than central inverter or power station solutions of today.
At Delta, we provide expertise at the PV solar system level and not just from an inverter centric offering perspective. Our partnerships with tier 1 monitoring and control providers, medium voltage transformer companies, and additional BOS solution providers in addition to offering our own Delta branded PV solar solutions make it easy for customers to choose Delta as we support the required and complementary technologies they’re already using.
VS: How do you compare yourself with top competitors in regards to offering Best-in-Class solution, with a full complement of features and functionality?
JB: Our 80kW 3PH string inverter’s advantages over other string inverters, central inverters, or power stations include:
- -25°C to 60°C operating temp range, vertical or full horizontal mounting allowed for ground mount, C&I, and rooftop applications
- Highest inverter performance with 98.8 percent Pk and 98.5 percent CEC efficiency
- Highest energy harvest utilizing multiple 2MPPT 1000Vdc string inverters with wide range 200 – 1000Vdc input operation, outstanding performance on nonlinear terrain
- NEMA4X enclosure for demanding outdoor applications such as desert, marine, coastal, etc. Our latest project is a 13MW Port of LA marine/coastal environment requiring NEMA4X.
- Optional built in DC disconnect switches per MPPT
- PF at /- 0.8
- Multiple DC Input connection options for flexibility inc. terminal block, 16 pair finger safe fuse holder, and an 18 pair MC4 connector version where install velocity and simplicity is the priority
- Lower BOS hardware and labor costs by eliminating dc combiner boxes
- Minimizes inverter commissioning costs as 3PH inverters are easily commissioned by less skilled labor (warranty remains intact when commissioned by 3rd party contractors)
- Smaller footprint and less labor costs associated on 1MVA – 4MVA design block pad sizes versus central inverters and power stations
- Repeatable MVT pad designs consisting of (1) two winding MVT having power ratings of 1MVA to 4 MVA wrt QTY (12) to QTY (48) 80kW string inverters
- No industrial cranes required or complicated project scheduling logistics associated with 3PH string inverter installs versus central inverter and power station designs
- Significantly lower product lead times when compared with central inverters or turnkey power stations (8WK ARO and stock items at LA logistics warehouse)
- High Density and lightweight at 24.2” x 35.4” x 10.8” and 175 lbs.
- 10YR Warranty included with 15 & 20 YR Warranty options available
- Fast service response and non-complicated repairs in the event of inverter downtime, our advance replacement policy ships within 24hr upon confirmation of failure