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Press release - Berlin, 18.12.2017

Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin to merge with SolarBuyer

Entry into the US market opens up new opportunities

As of January 1, 2018, the Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin (PI Berlin) will acquire 100 percent of the shares in the US company SolarBuyer. SolarBuyer is a leading provider of risk management and quality assurance services for buyers and investors in the solar industry. As a specialist in ensuring the manufacturing quality of solar modules and inverters, SolarBuyer has conducted more than 230 factory audits covering more than 62 GW of production capacity.

PI Berlin has been performing complimentary services, including the field inspection of solar power plants and laboratory testing of solar modules, for more than ten years. The merger will allow PI Berlin to gain a foothold in the US market, one of the most important photovoltaic markets in the world. At the same time, SolarBuyer’s customers will benefit from a broader range of testing and inspection capabilities available from PI Berlin’s laboratories in Germany and China.

An established player in the US market

SolarBuyer has been a well-respected player in the US market for technical risk management and quality assurance services since 2011. Major investors, developers, installers and utilities in particular turn to the company to ensure that any defects or damage to modules or inverters are discovered and rectified at the factory before shipping, thereby avoiding the need for expensive replacements in the field once the system has already been installed. SolarBuyer regularly conducts factory audits in 16 countries on 5 different continents and produces independent quality ratings for each manufacturer and factory. The majority of SolarBuyer customers are located in the US, while factory audits and quality assurance services are primarily performed in Asia, where SolarBuyer has a first rate team of experienced auditors based in Shanghai, China. SolarBuyer’s two founders, Peter Rusch and Ian Gregory, will remain with the company.

A complete solution from a single source

With the merger, the two companies will join forces to combine audits of production facilities, testing in laboratories and inspections  in the field – for the first time providing a complete set of risk and quality management services for solar equipment from a single source. Rusch, who will lead global sales for PI Berlin starting in January, is convinced that the merger will offer many advantages for customers: “In the future, we will be able to offer investors and developers quality assurance of both component materials and the manufacturing process from a single, expert source – an integrated service that will be unique in the PV industry.”

Significantly stronger market position

“SolarBuyer is the US market leader in solar risk management and quality assurance, which makes the company a natural partner for PI Berlin’s entry into an established market”, explains Gregory, who will serve as the US General Manager following the merger.

Lars Podlowski, a member of the Board of Directors of PI Berlin, also sees the merger of the two companies as an opportunity to gain ground internationally. “Combining our strengths will allow us, as PI Berlin, to become active in the North American market, which continues to play an important role in the PV industry. For both companies, this is a case where one plus one equals more than two”

Customers of the two companies can continue to expect the same great service and expertise from both companies, but with the benefit of enhanced capabilities and expertise. In the future, the European SolarBuyer Team and EMEA sales will operate out of the Berlin headquarters of PI Berlin. The US SolarBuyer Team will remain located in Marlborough, MA.

About PI Berlin

The Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin provides independent, expert advice on designing, constructing and operating PV power plants worldwide. With its experienced team of researchers and engineers, the institute offers a wide range of design and test services with a focus on quality assurance in complex PV projects. PI Berlin has already provided support for projects with a total rated output of over two Gigawatts (GW) worldwide.

The institute also has an IEC-accredited test laboratory at its Berlin location for checking the performance, reliability and durability of solar modules. Another test laboratory is located in Suzhou, China. Modules are tested according to strict criteria that exceed IEC standards.

The institute was established ten years ago by PV experts Prof. Dr Stefan Krauter, Sven Lehmann and Dr Paul Grunow, who was also one of the founders of Solon and Q CELLS.

About SolarBuyer

SolarBuyer is the leading provider of risk management and quality assurance services for solar products and equipment.

Services include independent technical diligence, procurement assistance and in-factory quality assurance provided to a broad range of investors, developers, utilities and insurance companies across the solar industry.

SolarBuyer was founded in 2011 and is headquartered near Boston in the USA. The company has additional staffed offices in Berlin (Germany), Shanghai (China) and Chennai (India), providing a local presence in key global markets, as well as the ability to quickly deploy resources in the industry’s main manufacturing regions.