‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ may be the famous strap line of renowned car manufacturers Audi, but it is a motto that could just as easily be applied to fellow German company Azur Solar and its managing director, Robert Markus Feldmann.
Translating to ‘progress through technology’, the tagline seems appropriate for a man who plans to attract PV installers to become partners through the quality of its newly expanded module, inverter, kit and component product range- in particular for the 2P Coated Premium Modules – plus a well-established reputation for technological excellence from his native Deutschland.
“We have about 300 installers signed up as members on our webshop and on our database and we aim to grow that base to 1,000 this year,“ he says with confidence. “For 2012 we plan to at least double our revenues. We think a turnover of around £20m is very achievable.”
Feldmann is inviting installers to sign up to the ‘Azur 2P Quality Dealer Programme’ in order to have access to the company’s flagship product – the Azur 2P coated PV module – and the expanded range of other components including mounting systems. According to Feldmann, the 2P module is a leap forward in PV technology as its patent-pending coating is designed to limit degradation to two per cent over 25 years and deliver up to 12 per cent more power over its lifetime.
He adds: “In a nutshell, installers work with us because they love this product. They clearly understand that if they go out and have to pitch alongside ten other products that they have a good chance with the unique 2P coated module.
“One thing which is unique is the patented coating on top of the module. Azur Solar has perfected and patent pending the technology, that allows to coat solar PV modules. Coating modules is a relatively low cost way to obtain superior performance from quality standard modules. Currently, the coating is exclusively applied to Azur Solar modules and cannot be had with any other module on the market. The proprietory Azur Solar 2P coating has a range of beneficial properties, the prime one being an ‘anti-aging’ effect, allowing the company to warrant the modules at 98 per cent after 25 years versus the industry standard 80 per cent.
“The Azur Solar 2P module was first launched in October 2010 in theUKand since then has seen a very strong pick-up in demand, forcing an early expansion of production lines inGermany. The premium product approach is supported by the ‘2P Quality Dealer Programme’ where dealers have to commit to accepting our high standards and quality.
“Having a German pedigree also equals trust as the customer has a perception of what German engineering is – like cars.”
Interested installers are invited to attend scheduled training events and seminars at the company’sSloughpremises where live demonstrations outline the benefits of using Azur’s products and becoming a partner. Feldmann says that some of the key attractions to installers who already use Azur as a supplier include this training provision plus a the new online ordering possibility via the Azur Solar Webshop and the company’s flexible delivery policy.
He adds: “What makes us so valuable to installers is that since the early days we have been giving hands-on advice. We had the know-how from operating in Europe’s largest solar market (Germany) so we didn’t just supply the product but also engineering support and advice.
“Our online shop opened before last Christmas. Our installer partners like it as it’s easy to use and has the full product range, providing a complete overview of our catalogue at a glimpse plus allowing to process payment online right away. All users need to be MCS registered and receive a personal log in. Once logged in, users will automatically be quoted their respective price and discount levels, which are not reflected in the publicly available version.
“A particular feature are the Azur Solar Power Kits, which come in over 40 variations currently. True to our ‘just in time’ concept, we shall also deliver to designated addresses so the installer doesn’t have to hold any stock. I would say that we are willing to go the extra mile for the installer to accommodate his specific needs. Other suppliers might say ‘yes we will deliver to the site but a minimum of ten kits’ whereas we have a relatively flexible policy.”