Five Reasons Why Cooperation Between SMA and Danfoss Promises Success

This post was originally published in 2014. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

If you look through many children’s books leading up to Christmas, you will often come across the image of hardworking elves making toys and wrapping gifts before the big day, so that Santa Claus can bring them to all the children on time. They busy themselves, packing and painting, sometimes baking and decorating. I thought of one of these pictures a few days ago when I learned of the dedication and interest with which countless employees are working to integrate Danfoss into SMA processes.

Of course, this is by no means a Christmas fairy tale. It is hard work and the reason for doing it is clear: It is about saving costs so SMA can become profitable again even in the difficult current market environment.

The cooperation with Danfoss offers the best chance to achieve this goal. Today, I want to tell you why the cooperation between SMA and Danfoss is so promising:

 

Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of Danfoss (right), in discussion with Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA at Intersolar 2014

Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of Danfoss (right), in discussion with Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA at Intersolar 2014

1) A shared corporate culture creates a bond

For successful cooperation, it is virtually essential that both partners hold similar values. At Danfoss and SMA, this is a perfect fit. This is primarily because both companies have similar origins. Danfoss and SMA were both set up by families and still remain entirely or largely in the hands of the founders’ families. “Something like that shapes the corporate culture and makes collaboration and mutual understanding easier,” explained Sune Sondergaard, the project manager responsible for the integration. In addition, there is a shared appreciation for using resources sparingly and offering energy-efficient solutions.

 

2) Confidence in the solar sector

This is also an important point that connects the two companies. Although Danfoss is withdrawing from being actively involved in the inverter business and sees its operating strengths in heating and cooling technology, this definitely does not mean that the Danes have no confidence in the solar sector. On the contrary, the best evidence for Danfoss’ “yes” to solar is the purchase of 20 percent of SMA’s shares at the beginning of the strategic partnership. Since then, Danfoss has been an anchor investor lending SMA additional stability.

 

The MLX 60 is suitable for commercial solar systems. It is one of the new inverters which completes the SMA product portfolio

The MLX 60 is suitable for commercial solar systems. It is one of the new inverters which completes the SMA product portfolio

3) Common strengths bring competitive advantages

When the partnership began in May 2014, at first the most important thing was to learn from each other. For SMA, it was particularly important to use Danfoss’ expertise in automated drives and to transfer it to PV inverters. Sune Sondergaard also sees great potential synergy here, because he knows from his time at Danfoss that his former employer has already applied this expertise to its own PV inverters.

 

4) Investment and cost savings through division of labor

While SMA has taken over the inverter business and thus the marketing of the former Danfoss products, they will still be manufactured in Nordborg—built to order by Danfoss. The company will also support SMA in the development of the products and provide resources. Because of the cutthroat competition on the market for automated drives, years ago Danfoss began focusing its strategy on continuous cost reduction through innovation. Therefore, SMA can also benefit from the Danes’ research and development know-how and exploit further synergies.

 

5) Stronger together—using economies of scale

An important mainstay of the strategic partnership is the cooperation on purchasing. Together, both partners achieve a bigger purchasing volume. This is especially important because the market for PV inverters is dominated by fierce competition where company size plays a crucial role. Since August, purchasing has been negotiated jointly, and the first successes are visible. The first negotiations have already saved SMA a six digit number from the purchasing cooperation alone.

 

Promising partnership: my colleague Sven Lippert among service colleagues of Danfoss at his visit in Denmark this year.

Promising partnership: my colleague Sven Lippert among service colleagues of Danfoss at his visit in Denmark this year.

Conclusion

Although SMA and Danfoss are different sizes and have different product portfolios, we have similar values and corporate cultures. Just the last few months have shown that the collaboration is very productive and profitable for both companies.
A promising German-Danish partnership on equal footing, that just works.

Until the Christmas break, the hardworking teams from Germany and Denmark will have their hands full before taking a breath and gathering their strength to continue advancing the partnership next year.

 

Product information about MLX 60

Press release about the cooperation assignment

 

Source (picture above): Danfoss

23 Comments
  1. Muhammad Waqas says:

    Can you please give the link to LCS tool, I have searched and look for it in Download area but failed to find it. kindly give the link to the tool.

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hello Muhammad,

      Thanks for your request, you will find the LCS tool in the download area: transformer less inverter, second step STP60-10 and last but not least select firmware and scroll down or simply follow this link:
      http://files.sma.de/dl/25977/STP60_FWUpdate1-50-004.zip

      Kindly be informed that the firmware is part of the software self, for further question feel free to contact the SMA Service Line.

      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  2. osama says:

    how can I connect two or more Sunny Tripower together and how they will synchronize together and with the grid

    Reply
    • Julia Stunz says:

      Hi Osama,
      I gave your information to a colleague and he will contact you directly.

      Kind regards,
      Julia

      Reply
  3. sumit arora says:

    i have industrial project in one megawatt i need best suggestion for solar grid tie invetor urgently

    Reply
    • Anke Baars
      Anke Baars says:

      Hi Sumit,
      Where exactly are you planning your project? I´d like to refer your request to our local colleague.

      Best regards
      Anke

      Reply
  4. Kashif Hafeez says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Good Day.

    I am designing a solar solution for one of our esteemed client using 2 SMA 60KVA inverters along with 300W X 308PV Mono Crystalline Modules. In the product installation manual SMA specified a transformer required at the output of the inverters. is it possible to connect the system directly with the building local grid directly without transformer.

    is it possible to combine the output of both inverters and than connect it with the grid or connect both the inverters seperatly.

    wihich breaker can we use at the output of inverters 3P or 4P?

    Regards
    Engr.Kashif Hafeez

    Reply
  5. Patrick Muscat says:

    Hello Please can you help me, Last January I launched a 60kwp system and I installed 4 SMA FLX pro 15 inverters, Now I decided to connect the system to internet so I can monitor the system online. Can you please help me how can I do it and what things i need. Or Can it be connected in a linear Daisy Chain the 4 of them and directly to the Ethernet router . please help me

    thanks

    Reply
  6. Parvesh Deosarran says:

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    For a 240 kW grid-tie rooftop PV solar system i wanna purchase the following from SMA:
    1) 4* 60 kWatt, Gridtie, 4 x STP 60-US-10 (480 VAC)
    2) 2* combiner box (24 strings) (DC-CMB-U10-24 D)
    3) SMA Energy Meter (4*)
    4) Sunny Webbox (1*)
    5) SMA cluster controller (4*?)

    Can I contact you personally? via Skype if possible.

    Best,

    Parvesh

    Reply
  7. Taufik Nurhakim says:

    I have SMA system, use 3 unit Sunny Tripower STP60-10 and Inverte Manager, PV array 12*24 for one STP60. Status on all STP60-10 is On Grid, but Power from PV not feed/send to output/grid. Why? Must i need isolation Trafo for connection output 3 phase inverter STP60-10 to Grid.

    Reply
    • Lucas Unbehaun says:

      Hi Taufik,

      No, there actually is no need to have an isolation transformer installed externally. Inverter this typ (transformerless) can be run with any typ of grid, but IT, Delta-IT, Split-Phase arrangements.
      To get further assistance, please contact our service line: http://www.sma.de/service-support/uebersicht.html
      The colleagues on our service line need some additional information, please keep the following at hand:
      • What Grid-File is currently implemented (customized Json-File)?
      • What firmware-Level does your inverter Manager have?
      • What typ of Grid are your inverter facing there?
      • Is there an external Power Management installed, that may reducing-/avoiding inverters output?

      Regards, Lucas

      Reply
  8. mohan Kumar says:

    Hi sir,
    I have commercial project in 50kw, I need best suggestion for solar grid tie project,
    And high efficiency pv inverters, and grid tie process,,

    Reply
    • Lucas Unbehaun says:

      Hello,

      please contact our local sales department, the colleagues will be happy to help you.

      Regards, Lucas

      Reply
  9. NIKITAS PAPAGGELOPOULOS says:

    Dear friends, I would like to know, after SMA and DANFOSS coalition,who is responsible for the service of Danfoss solar power inverters. I am looking forward to hearing news from you soon. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  10. Alex Dela Cruz says:

    HI,

    May I know the causes of problems on LCS event log “Transistor and relay test failed (contact assumed welded)”. Our inverters are MLX 60 and we encounter this problems on all defective inverters. Can you give an advise on what possible causes so we can correct it to avoid this situation.

    Thank you and waiting for response.

    Reply

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