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Menlo Electric: major new solar component distributor

Menlo Electric South Africa is making waves as a new wholesale solar component distributor in the market. Having begun operations in January 2023, it is taking the market by storm and has already captured more than 10% of the market share.

This achievement can be attributed to the company’s unique product portfolio that offers innovative technologies, an experienced local sales team, and a keen purpose to support businesses and EPCs in their energy transition.

Menlo Electric supports the energy transition

According to CSIR’s annual report, renewables excluding hydro made up only 7% of South Africa’s overall energy mix in 2022. This is better than the 4% average for the entire globe, yet we still lag far behind countries in Europe where renewables make up around 15.5% of their energy mix. In addition, South Africans need to find a reliable source of power as they continue to face loadshedding.

Given this, Menlo Electric co-founders Bartosz Majewski and Marta Walendzewicz put South Africa near the top of their list when deciding which regions to enter when expanding their Polish company. To help them seize this opportunity and navigate the South African market, they enlisted Johannesburg-based, Heino Louw as General Manager in the country.

Bartosz Majewski, CEO at Menlo Electric noted, “South Africa can greatly benefit from a large-scale rollout of residential and business PV installations. Based on benchmarks from similar markets we’re familiar with, home and business PV installations can add 10 GW to South Africa’s power mix by 2026 and create hundreds of jobs. Menlo Electric’s mission is to facilitate energy transition by improving access to top-quality components. Accordingly, we believe we can play a very positive role in the transformation happening here.”

Heino Louw agrees and has been able to translate his decade of experience within the industry and project management to create a strong South African wing of the business. He has ensured Menlo Electric stays true to its tagline, as the fastest-growing distributor in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Timing has undoubtedly played a role in its success too. Loadshedding levels reached extreme highs at the beginning of 2023 causing demand for solar components to skyrocket.

With its international network of warehouses and top-quality suppliers Menlo Electric is well positioned to fulfil this booming market. The company has the stock to supply both residential installers and large-scale EPC projects at competitive prices. Internationally, it has 10 logistics hubs and delivers 50 MW of modules per month. Additionally, it has a team of experienced salespeople to support its clients.

One such client is EverSolar, who embarked on a project to create an installation that would support the energy needs of the wholesale nursery, TuberFlora. For the project, EverSolar aimed to optimise system performance, maximise energy production and ensure seamless integration with existing power infrastructure. To achieve these goals, it selected Jinko Solar Co., Ltd. 575W solar panels, supplied by Menlo Electric. These high-performance panels perform remarkably well in all weather conditions because they offer exceptional efficiency, durability, and maximum power output. They also successfully integrated into a ground-mount system with an AC rating of 150kW and a DC rating of 155kWp for this project. This is only one example of Menlo Electric South Africa’s innovative offering.

State-of-the-art product portfolio

The South African market currently has several favourite manufacturer brands. Menlo Electric’s product portfolio is unique in that it has steered away from these popular manufacturers in favour of internationally renowned manufacturers. “Many of the brands we carry are currently either not present in South Africa or their presence does not reflect their global position. We will change that while providing clients with a broader choice” says Louw.

Solar component manufacturers tend to specialise in one of two main categories, panels or inverters and batteries, and Menlo Electric’s portfolio covers both. The company is currently an official distributor of FoxESS and Sungrow, with plans to add GoodWe to the list soon. These brands cover the inverter and battery category of the offering, in this list, you will find products suitable for residential and commercial and industrial products.

A wide array of products is important because each business has different needs and therefore you will want to work with a distributor that can support the unique needs of each project. For batteries, an important distinction that can be made between products is whether they create high-voltage (HV) or low-voltage (LV) systems.

HV battery systems usually operate at voltages greater than 100V DC and are commonly used in systems with smaller wiring, such as electric vehicles. While LV battery system typically operates at voltages less than 60V DC are commonly used in smaller portable devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and handheld tools.

In the solar panels category, Menlo Electric carries brands JA Solar, Jinko Solar, Longi Solar and Tongwei. All four suppliers produce Tier 1 modules, meaning they meet the highest standards of production globally and their power production capacity and lifespan are longer.

Some of the advanced technologies Menlo Electric customers will have access to because their selected suppliers will include N-Type panels. In fact, each of the manufacturers is acknowledged in the industry as at the forefront of the transition of N-type solar panels becoming mainstream. A solar energy system with N-type modules will benefit from higher efficiency, more stability, lower light-induced degradation, and a better temperature co-efficient when compared to P-type solar panels which are currently common.

Menlo Academy for solar installers

The sharing spirit extends to solar installers through Menlo Academy. This is where technical knowledge is shared during in-person training sessions or webinars. Topics for the sessions revolve around new technologies and products. The sessions are free of charge and welcome service for both seasoned installers, who like to keep up to date on new products as well as those newer installers who are looking to up-skill themselves.

The Menlo Electric team will be setting out on our brand-new Tour Bus this September. Installers will gain some in-depth knowledge about the technical aspects of the FoxESS inverters and batteries as well as Jinko solar panels.

You won’t want to miss it. All attendees will stand a chance to win a trip to the FoxESS factory in China, complimentary of the FoxESS team. Making this the chance of a lifetime!

Menlo will be visiting the following cities:

  • Cape Town
  • George
  • Gqeberha
  • Durban
  • Centurion
  • Johannesburg

Spots are limited, so select your city and book a free ticket today to ensure you don’t miss out.

Have any questions?