Q CELLS participated in the ‘2020 International Green Energy Expo’ held at Daegu EXCO in Korea over 3 days from July 15 to 17. At the Expo, Q CELLS mainly focused on presenting its premium product line, including marine floating PV and agrophotovoltaic solutions that have proven their worth in a number of major photovoltaic module markets. Exhibited in the premium zone were the Q.PEAK DUO G-9, which was launched in May this year with a significant improvement in output through Q.ANTUM DUO Z technology, and a bifacial module product that generates energy at the rear side.
The new marine floating photovoltaic product, the ‘Q.PEAK DUO Poseidon’, is an eco-friendly, highly-durable module designed especially for hot and humid environments and manufactured based on internal testing criteria that is higher than those of the KS certification evaluation, which require the product to be exposed in an environment at a temperature of 85 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of 85% for more than 3,000 hours. The agrophotovoltaic module is smaller than conventional modules (60 cells or 72 cells) in size and does not cover the entire farm area. Thus, the amount of sunlight needed for farming can be secured and the decreased weight of photovoltaic modules minimizes the impact on the farm. As a method of investment for a stable return, Q CELLS provided information on private photovoltaic generation business and promoted its total service program encompassing finance, insurance and construction.
Jaeyeol Yoo, head of Q CELLS’ Korean business division, said, “I am grateful to all the employees who exerted their full efforts in preparing for the ‘Daegu International Green Expo’ despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 situation. I believe that this exhibition was an excellent opportunity to introduce our new products in the competitive domestic market and to emphasize our business capabilities to customers.”
▶ Meeting employees who participated in the 2020 International Green Energy Expo
We interviewed employees who participated in the 2020 International Green Energy Expo to take the lead in promoting the product competitiveness of Q CELLS while strengthening relationships with existing customers and attracting new customers.
Q. What activities did the Module Business Team carry out at the International Green Energy Expo?
We were responsible for presenting information about our products and responding to customers visiting our booth. There were more visitors than we anticipated despite the COVID-19 situation. Compared to the previous year’s Expo, which was crowded with general visitors who had interest in the photovoltaic industry, this year’s Expo had a significantly higher number of business-related visitors. The exhibition was very efficient. It was relatively quiet, but the level of communication among visitors was high, which led to a good number of deals.
Q. Which product did you focus on promoting at the Expo? And, which Q CELLS product did the customers show the greatest interest in?
Youngjin Sohn | We divided our exhibition site into 4 areas. Area #1 was used to exhibit the bifacial module, the Q.PEAK DUO L-G8.3, which is to be released in September, and the 500W model that is to be launched next year. Area #2 exhibited the floating photovoltaic module the Q.PEAK DUO L-G6.2 KR1 that is expected to obtain KS certification at the end of August. The agrophotovoltaic module, the Q.PEAK XS-G5.1, was exhibited in Area #3 by the PV Solution Team, Korean Business Division, and Area #4 exhibited 3 products that are currently available in the market: Q.PEAK L-G4.4, Q.PEAK DUO L-G6, Q.PEAK DUO XL-G9.3.
Jonghyeon Kim | Customers showed high interest in the Q.PEAK DUO-G9 series that we began selling this May and a highly-durable, eco-friendly agrophotovoltaic module that has yet to be released. The interest level was high with the intense promotion of the products.
Q. What was the most rewarding moment to you?
Jonghyeon Kim | I felt most fulfilled when customers exclaimed, “As expected, Q CELLS!”.
Youngjin Sohn | As a salesperson, I feel most rewarded when I acquire a new customer. Until last year, I performed the role of a sales supporter. This year, I have to work independently, so I felt quite a bit of pressure. Bumil Eco Energy & Electric Co., Ltd. was a company I met at an exhibition in Daegu. I visited their office in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do and signed a business deal with them in August. I have also had business talks with a number of new clients and visit their site to pursue business.
Q. Please explain how important this Expo was for your business.
Jonghyeon Kim | This Expo was a great opportunity to acquire new customers and reinforce the competitiveness of our products, but it was also a place where we could meet our existing partners and solidify relationships with them. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many events have been postponed or canceled so we have not had many opportunities to thank our existing partners and strengthen the bond with them. This exhibition was very important as it allowed us to do so.
Youngjin Sohn | The Expo allowed us to meet new business customers while allowing us to demonstrate our products to the public who are perhaps not aware of our brand. It was also an opportunity to strengthen our brand power. At the Expo, Youngjin Kwon, the mayor of Daegu, and other government officials visited our booth and helped us create a direct link with ordering organizations for products, including marine photovoltaic modules.
Q. Please tell us what insight you gained through the Expo and what you will prepare for the next Expo.
Jonghyeon Kim | The technology gap in the photovoltaic market these days is narrowing while the price competition is intensifying. Rather than price, customer service and AS will become more important in the future. As the land area of Korea is limited, highly-durable, eco-friendly module and agrophotovoltaic module markets are expected to grow quickly. In the next Expo, I will try to induce our customers to be aware of our company in providing perfect price and service.
Youngjin Sohn | In response to the 450W product, which we released in May, many domestic competitors, such as LG Electronics, Hyundai Energy Solution, Hansol Techniques, etc., are launching new products. Also, the fact that many Chinese rivals took up quite a large amount of space in the exhibition hall with their new 500W products made me think that we need to improve our product quality and price competitiveness. Based on excellent business service and negotiation skills, I will do my very best to help our company maintain the largest market share in Korea.
Q. What activities did PR by Industrial Policy Team perform at the Expo?
In the preparation stage, we cooperated with relevant departments to organize the booth and deliver standardized messages, such as the internal communication guideline and promotional materials, to our visitors. We distributed a press release in advance to induce many reporters to visit the Expo and Q CELLS booth. We also recruited various media that wished to observe the Expo with Q CELLS. Manager Won Park introduced Q CELLS at the VIP exhibition tour and gave a presentation on our Innovation Program to promote the technologies of Q CELLS. At the Expo venue, I (Geon Park) provided both tours and PR materials to reporters who wanted to stay near us and other reporters visiting our booth. We also worked as a liaison between the media and our employees, responding to interviews requested by the Expo host or the media.
Q. You can say that reporters are the first PR targets. What did you focus on the most when responding to reporters at the Expo?
As most reporters have diverse fields to cover, they do not have a deep knowledge of the photovoltaic industry. Without the knowledge of the industry or the principle, it is very difficult to understand the products and technologies of Q CELLS. And so, I had to think of a way to help them easily understand these areas. Other than proper names that could not be changed, I did my best to help them understand by showing them the photovoltaic modules or cell products and referring to our daily items. In the case of Quantum Duo Z technology, for which I had to explain the reason why the gap between the photovoltaic cells could be reduced to almost ‘0’, I needed to explain the entire Quantum Duo technology.
Q. What did you focus on promoting at this Expo and what question did you receive the most?
We mainly focused on promoting floating photovoltaic and agrophotovoltaic products based on the fact that we provide various solutions according to the characteristics of each region. The question we received the most was about the features or the principles of our agrophotovoltaic modules. The media seemed to have gained interest from the concept of ‘parallel agriculture’ that uses land effectively by producing agriculture and energy at the same time.
Q. Please tell us what insight you gained from the Expo.
I l saw that visitors, including reporters, are beginning to gain interest in the photovoltaic industry. General visitors’ level of understanding of the photovoltaic industry has increased, so they were able to compare and check product quality, service and brand value more thoroughly.
Q. What is your impression of the Expo? And please tell us what you have in mind for the next Expo.
I took on my role at the Expo keeping in mind that I am the representative of Q CELLS and that I am in a position to represent the domestic photovoltaic industry. I will do my very best in expanding the photovoltaic industry base and promoting Q CELLS by building professional skills in the photovoltaic power and renewable energy sectors amid the global trends toward environmentally-friendly energy.
Q. What duties did the Business Support Team perform at the International Green Energy Expo?
The team was responsible for exhibition planning and supervising operational activities. To be more specific, the Business Support Team supported tender and selection, the exhibition concept and design plan, internal and external communication, booth staff training and information session hosting, customer response material distribution, event hosting, catering and management of customer gift inventory.
Q. There must have been great competition among business participants to attract visitors at the Expo. Please tell us about Q CELLS’ booth concept and differentiated strategies.
Unlike some booths that can have a dull and cold image, we decided to go with a warm and eco-friendly concept for our booth interior using plants. Our booth became well-known as a beautiful booth, and some companies even requested us to introduce our exhibition service provider to them. Furthermore, unlike the past when we organized our booth by product, we set up zones based on the three product solutions: premium, marine and agro. This allowed general visitors to gain an easy understanding of the use of photovoltaic energy and diverse the solutions at a glance. Also, through various events, such as the booth stamp tour, flash game, guerilla quiz, etc., we increased the stay time of our visitors and had a better opportunity to promote the technologies and services of Q CELLS.
Q. You must have had a lot to prepare for this year’s Expo due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What did you focus on the most?
Although the host disinfected the area, we did our very best to take preventive measures against COVID-19, having everybody wear a mask and placing hand sanitizers and antibacterial films around the booth. In addition, we conducted safe and hygienic events for our visitors instead of holding in-booth experience programs, such as factory VR experience, etc. Thanks to our visitors and participating companies’ employees who followed all the rules well, we were able to complete our exhibition safely.
Q. What was the greatest difficulty and how did you overcome it?
We thought that the number of visitors would be similar to or less than that of last year due to COVID-19, so we prepared our promotional materials according to the figures from last year’s exhibition. We ran out of materials because the number of visitors this year was very high. We were moving our feet anxiously not knowing what to do until our co-workers at the head office sent us the materials through quick-delivery service. Other than that, we did not have any problem.
Q. When was the most rewarding moment?
Inyoung Heo | We held a guerilla quiz show 3 to 4 times a day. I felt fulfilled to see the visitors participating enthusiastically in our program and shouting out ‘Q CELLS’ to give answers to the quiz.
Jin Yoon | It was incredibly rewarding when I saw the exhibition hall in Daegu. I was very excited to see all the actual furniture, flooring materials, etc. in the booth that I designed with my very own eyes. Although I have no children, the booth to me seemed like my own child to whom I gave birth.
Q. Please tell us if you gained any insight from the Expo?
Inyoung Heo | The development of high-output modules (higher than 500W) is speeding up backed by large wafer (M6-12) and the half-cell and gapless technology. The JA booth had modules with a maximum output of 545W using M10 and 9-11 wire technology. Most companies exhibited bifacial modules, so I feel that these products have begun to gain popularity in Korea.
Jin Yoon | Many competitors, including Chinese companies, focused their exhibition on bifacial modules. One of the main competitors, Hyundai Energy Solution, exhibited a marine module. As our company is also planning to debut a bifacial module in the domestic market, I think that we should launch the product as soon as possible to meet the market demand.
Q. How would you describe your feeling while planning and supervising the exhibition?
Inyoung Heo | We operated our exhibition so that our visitors were entertained through our company PT, quiz shows, etc. Our brand image and messages were well delivered through a large LED display, but I think that the transparent screen in the marine photovoltaic zone needs to be improved for better effect.
Jin Yoon | In short, I will say, “I’m full on my first dish. Next time, I will have more”. This Expo was the first exhibition that our team prepared for and I believe we did an excellent job. That is why I said, ‘full on my first dish’. Based on this experience, I am determined to present a better exhibition next time and that is why I said, ‘Next time, I will have more’.
Q. Please tell us what you are preparing for other exhibitions and what your determinations are.
We are preparing for the 2020 Korea Energy Show that is to be held at COEX this October. Q CELLS is planning to take part in the Renewable Energy field with other conglomerates leading the domestic energy industry. We plan to prepare for other exhibitions to promote Q CELLS’ image as a leader and total energy solution provider in the renewable energy field.