Meet James Frank: Solis’ Solar Specialist in South Africa
James’ background in management and sales and his hands-on, practical experience in photovoltaic installations means he has a wealth of solar knowhow.
With seven years in the solar industry under his belt (and 29 years working in the industrial-electrical sector), James has seen all sides — the good and the bad — of solar installations. Having worked as an EPC (PVSE), James has an in-depth understanding of the requirements for both residential and commercial solar projects. He knows what it takes to make these projects work and how to overcome their associated challenges.
James is now working with Solis as an advisor to help end-users with design assistance. His extensive experience means he can assist with inverter selection, the balance of plant requirements and design support.
On top of his extensive work in South Africa, James has also gained remarkable engineering experience in Mauritius, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Understanding market trends in all these different areas is fundamental to James’ role at Solis, and he is intrinsically involved in developing commercial and residential markets in line with overall strategies.
Who is Solis?
Solis is a dynamic, innovative company involved with the manufacture and supply of solar inverters. The range of products includes residential grid-tied inverters as small as 700W up to 70kW commercial three-phase inverters.
Additionally, in the residential sector, Solis offers smart-grid hybrid inverters which have the capacity for maximum self-consumption and offer a back-up power system. A full range of export limitation and monitoring solutions are available too. These systems are hardwired via Ethernet, Modbus RS 485 or WiFi applications for ease of use.
In the local market, some of the best-selling products in Solis’ portfolio include the grid-tied string inverters; however, the hybrid solution is catching up fast. Solis’ high-quality inverters are available at a competitive price, and with SegenSolar as a highly efficient and technically capable distributor, it’s a recipe for success and continued market growth.
Working together to grow the market
The relationship between SegenSolar and Solis looks towards ensuring market growth, providing both technical and commercial assistance and communicating market requirements. The distributor and manufacturer are keen to facilitate a channel for fast, decisive action within the South African market.
James has had substantial involvement in developing this relationship between SegenSolar and Solis. A vital part of James’ role at Solis is to ensure feedback is received and acted upon quickly. James is keen to guarantee all products are well supported and to focus on the progressive expansion of market-share and innovative product development.
A few years back when South Africa was still new to the concept of solar panels, James was motivated to address the lack of well-defined specifications in place. His vision with Solis was to assist installers with putting together and quoting a PV system, as most installations were falling short in terms of required protective equipment.
Solis set out to develop DC protection and combiner boxes which were compatible with all inverters and supplied by SegenSolar at the time. Once the development phase was complete, the protection products became part of SegenSolar’s portfolio, and training days were arranged around the new systems.
The sessions were aimed at educating installers about regulatory and safety requirements. The training days further served as a platform to promote the expansion of the Design Tool system (accessible via SegenSolar’s online portal), which can match a client’s chosen inverter with a suitable DC protection box, amongst other system combinations.
James is a firm believer that the above forms part of what it means to be a responsible manufacturer.
James will be joining the SegenSolar team in upcoming monthly training sessions in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The training day will begin with introductions to Solis as a business — from its roots to its future. This history is significant as James wants potential clients to understand they will be working with a manufacturer offering both quality products and support throughout the products’ lifetimes.
The supply chain must be kept up to date on Solis’ products and have access to accurate information. As such, the training sessions will take place when design changes to Solis products are imminent or when new models are launching. Overall, this will secure an improved delivery experience for all.
James believes knowledge instils confidence in everyone involved in the sales, service and installation process — and these training and information sessions will prove to be powerful tools, which are beneficial to the entire supply chain.