Sungrow is the largest inverter manufacturer in China and the company is now expanding into the solar power development business. An agreement was recently signed between eastern China’s Chaohu government for the development of 600 MW of PV solar plants. (Note that Chaohu is a city with a population of about 859,000.) The goal is to have all 600 MW grid connected by December 2016. In the summer of 2017, it is expected the new solar power plants will be integrated with agricultural resources like fish ponds, greenhouses, and crops in some manner.

In 2014, Sungrow shipped over 4 GW of inverters, but it is trying to boost revenues further by entering the downstream market. “With our scientific background and the reliable performance of our inverters we have won the trust of customers around the globe, and currently have approximately 12 GW of inverters installed worldwide,” said CEO and founder Renxian Cao.

Moving downstream might be seen as a ho-hum expansion into other markets, but it may actually make a company stretch to innovate in order to serve those other customers, as Harvard Business Review notes. “The persistent belief that innovation is primarily about building better products and technologies leads managers to an over reliance on upstream activities and tools. But downstream reasoning suggests that managers should focus on marketplace activities and tools. Competitive battles are won by offering innovations that reduce customers’ costs and risks over the entire purchase, consumption, and disposal cycle.”

Being a technology manufacturer and already having familiarity with solar and wind power seems to make an expansion into developing its own solar power projects both logical and sensible, in order to grow a company.

In 2013, the company was ranked as the second-largest PV inverter manufacturer in the world in terms of the number of shipped megawatts. Over 1,000 people are employed by the company, which also makes wind power converters and distributed power supply. Development, construction, and operation of renewable energy projects is another focus area.

China wants to have 150 to 200 GW of solar power installed by 2020.