The Next Move for Panasonic’s North American Solar Business – Newsweek

The Next Move for Panasonic’s North American Solar Business – Newsweek

Panasonic Solar and Battery Storage Business Move Forward With an Agile, Customer-Centric Strategy

Panasonic high-efficiency EverVolt solar panels were installed on an Iowa home. Photo courtesy of Energy Consultants Group, a Panasonic Elite installer.

Earlier in 2021, confusion arose in the residential solar market when Panasonic opted to bring in original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners to take over some of its production responsibilities, with reports mistakenly claiming that Panasonic was exiting the solar market entirely. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

An OEM is a manufacturer that specializes in making specific products on behalf of brands. The brand still designates the product as its own and ensures the level of quality customers have come to expect. This trend follows manufacturers in many other industries, from consumer electronics to mobile devices to apparel.

Panasonic’s move to outsource its solar panel production to OEMs was part of a decision to switch over from an exclusive focus on manufacturing to target a new goal of offering a suite–an ecosystem–of residential energy products, including solar panels and a new outdoor-rated battery storage system. According to the Panasonic team, the change will allow the company to deliver the latest solar technology to installers and consumers more quickly, and at more competitive prices, as well as to sell other components of Panasonic’s whole-home renewable energy solutions.

“This is just a change in strategy,” said Mukesh Sethi, group manager of solar and storage solutions at Panasonic, in a September 2021 interview with Solar Power World. “We’re not exiting anything.”

For Panasonic, this customer-centric strategy enables the company to be future focused and to offer integrated energy solutions that are all backed and warrantied by one of America’s most trusted and longest standing brands. (In 2021, Panasonic celebrated the 103rd anniversary of its founding in Japan, in 1918.)

This change in strategy—switching from proprietary factories to partnering with OEMs—will have no impact on consumers or installing partners. The company will continue to sell and support its solar panels and battery storage systems—together with its 25-year warranty, commitment to product quality and high level of service people, noted Solar Power World—and, in the longer term, develop other energy management products.

Speaking to Panasonic’s decision to outsource manufacturing, Sethi explained to Solar Power World, “There are so many companies, big household brands, that are already doing this kind of stuff. They design the products and sell the products without manufacturing them themselves.” In fact, other solar companies have made similar manufacturing strategy changes that have enabled them to sell company-branded modules made by OEMs.

Transition to a Best-in-Class Home Energy Ecosystem

Panasonic has been a major player in solar power for more than a quarter century, having developed heterojunction technology (HJT), which is integral to high power output in solar panels. The company has been heavily involved in solar research and development since 1975, when the green revolution began. Throughout that period, it has made considerable progress in increasing the efficiency and output of its panels, as well as in expanding its manufacturing operations.

However, Panasonic technology wasn’t the only thing that has evolved over the …….


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