Please give us some background about Rubicon.
Rubicon has been serving South Africa’s electrical and automation industry for 30 years. Through our international product offerings, we have always had high quality products relevant to the solar industry, so when it started in SA we were already geared to be one of the foremost suppliers. Over the past few years, we have developed our offering and are now the largest national PV component supplier in the country with the most complete offering.
What product or service that you offer currently are you most excited about?
The PV industry is evolving very fast on several fronts. However, worldwide, energy storage is the new area where there is the most excitement and activity. This is being enabled by the evolution in battery technologies and by the decreasing costs associated with storage.
How has the response been to the Tesla Powerwall? How is this product unique on the market?
There has been an excellent response. Generally, our market is very interested in energy storage and the features and benefits of the product has meant that there was an immediate high level of interest when it was introduced. The Tesla Powerwall is a home battery and its value lies in the fact that it charges during the day and stores this energy so that it is available during the peak consumption periods in the mornings and evenings. In this way, home owners are able to get maximum benefit and return from their home solar system.
How has your solar offering changed – what does this say of the demand out there?
After the end of load-shedding last year, the domestic market decreased somewhat. However, around the same time, we saw a massive increase in the commercial market uptake. The markets do have slightly different technical requirements and, of course, the project sizes are very different. The Tesla Powerwall will have an impact on the domestic market again, as its capabilities mean that a home installation becomes more attractive.
What will be you be showcasing at African Utility Week this year? What will be your message?
We will showcase our entire solar portfolio, including the Tesla PowerWall and associated SolarEdge Inverter. Additionally, we will have many of our other products on display, including an exciting new energy monitoring product called “SMAPPEE”.