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Press release - Berlin, 28.03.2019

SolarBuyer rebrands as PI

US firm acquired by PI Berlin integrates with parent company

The former SolarBuyer company in the US acquired by PI Berlin in 2018 has officially renamed itself as PI Berlin North America, or ‘PI’ for short. The rebranding brings SolarBuyer fully into the global family of PI companies alongside two existing subsidiaries in China.

“We are thrilled to bring SolarBuyer fully into the PI fold,” says PI Berlin’s CEO and industry veteran Paul Grunow. “With over 13 years of combined experience serving the PV industry, we can now offer a comprehensive range of added-value services to clients in all major markets around the world”.

The acquisition of SolarBuyer brought PI Berlin access to the US market as well as a range of factory-based diligence and quality assurance services designed to complement the company’s existing range of lab and field-based services. This has enabled the company to offer a suite of technical services combining factory, lab and field capabilities depending on the needs of individual clients.

More focus on customers

“We also took the opportunity to restructure the company in order to enhance our focus on customers”, says Dr. Lars Podlowski, Director Global Technical Services for PI Berlin. “We reorganized the complete business from the ground-up, starting from how we manage our customer relationships right through to how we execute projects on the back-end. It has yielded a company better positioned to be more than just a service provider. We are now able to focus much more on becoming the trusted advisor that many clients look for”.

Developing new expertise centers

As part of the integration process between SolarBuyer and PI Berlin, the company has created several key expertise centers designed to help clients understand, value and adopt new technologies. These include specific expertise centers in thin-film technology, bifacial modules, PERC-cell based modules as well as the rapidly diversifying field of module cleaning systems. With the ability to test technology in ISO 17025 accredited laboratories, the ability to assess commercial-scale manufacturing and the ability to inspect and test in the field, PI now enables clients to adopt new technologies faster and with more confidence.

Continuing to be the factory audit leader

Major downstream players in the US market already rely on SolarBuyer factory auditing, with over 250 audits conducted on more than 120 manufacturers representing more than 67 GW of manufacturing capacity. Under PI, the new company has continued to focus and invest in maintaining a leadership position in this field and will continue to do so. “We recognize the value to our clients of dependable technical diligence on PV equipment manufacturers”, says Mr. Ian Gregory, General Manager of PI Berlin North America and former founder of SolarBuyer. “Giving major industry investors and buyers confidence in the PV equipment they are sourcing remains key to continued growth of the industry as suppliers, factories, technologies and products continue to change constantly and costs continue to be driven down”.

About PI Berlin

The Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin is a leading technical advisor, risk manager and quality assurance provider for PV power plants and equipment. With its experienced team of researchers, scientists and engineers, the Institute offers a wide range of design, testing and evaluation services with a focus on the risk management and quality assurance of PV equipment and complex PV power plants. The Institute has an IEC 17025 accredited test laboratory at its Berlin location for evaluating the performance, reliability and durability of solar modules. Another test laboratory is located in Suzhou, China.

Modules are tested according to strict criteria that meet or exceed IEC standards. SolarBuyer, a leading provider of factory audits, merged with PI Berlin in 2018. The Institute was established twelve years ago by PV experts Prof. Dr Stefan Krauter, Sven Lehmann and Dr Paul Grunow, a founder of Solon and Q CELLS.