ABB announced on July 9 that it was abandoning its inverter business and selling its assets to Italian company Fimer. ABB inverter owners have been left wondering how they’ll be covered moving forward.
Giampiero Frisio, head of ABB’s Smart Power business line, answered some questions from Solar Power World about the future via email.
SPW: Why did ABB have to pay Fimer to take over its assets?
Giampiero Frisio: ABB reached an agreement with Fimer that makes it possible to continue growing the solar business successfully. Fimer is more focused on the solar business and its dynamic environment than ABB. The ABB strategy is to concentrate on other strategic portfolio areas.
As part of the sales and purchase agreement, ABB is prepared to pay for future liabilities going forward from closing in Q1 2020 until 2025. This will cover the liabilities such as warranties for customers.
SPW: Will Fimer cover all ABB warranties in the United States? What all will that entail?
Frisio: The agreement between ABB and Fimer includes all countries and all liabilities.
SPW: Is Fimer handling all ABB inverter operations and maintenance issues moving forward too?
Frisio: Yes, the scope of the agreement covers all inverter operations and service-related activities. Fimer wants to ensure a smooth transition, continuous operation and growth of the business.
SPW: What are ABB’s instructions for O&M operators who are anxious?
Frisio: The scope of this agreement will include the full product portfolio, the entire solar team and organization, service and sales activities as well as well-established processes. Because of this wholistic transfer, ABB is fully confident that the same high level of service and product quality will be retained in the future under the umbrella of Fimer.
SPW: Will Fimer manufacture ABB inverters moving forward, or is it just taking over the existing fleet?
Frisio: Yes, Fimer will continue to manufacture the ABB solar inverter portfolio as it is a very complementary fit to the existing Fimer inverter range. Fimer believes in continuing to grow the solar business with this portfolio as it is innovative, proven and reliable. Fimer is also committed to increasing R&D efforts and to further develop the existing portfolio. They are equally interested in further growing competitive strength based on the digital technologies in the ABB solar inverter portfolio, such as leveraging blockchain technologies for future business models.
SPW: Will ABB be involved in solar in any way moving forward?
Frisio: ABB is divesting the solar inverter portfolio but continues to serve the solar market with other offerings such as innovative low- and medium-voltage solutions specifically designed for solar applications.
ABB will continue to integrate solar power as part of its smart buildings offering and will further strengthen its smart power offering, integrating renewable power, energy storage and EV charging into smart infrastructure.