“Demand in America has grown a lot and our commitment is to consolidate a service structure to match” Javier Pernas, Aftersales service manager in Mexico & America

“Demand in America has grown a lot and our commitment is to consolidate a service structure to match” Javier Pernas, Aftersales service manager in Mexico and America.

The regulatory changes in energy matters in countries such as Mexico and its reform of 2013 as maximum exponents have increased the demand for products and equipment related to the generation of clean energy in recent years. In this context, over the last five years JEMA Energy has experienced strong growth in demand for power systems and equipment for the photovoltaic sector.

The rapid growth in this area has led to the development of a solid network of high-quality technical service. In addition, the consolidation of the technical team in the country means that rapid support can be provided in the United States and in other countries such as Chile or Panama thanks to the geographical location of Mexico.  The lead coordinator of this service in Mexico and America is Javier Pernas, who has been working in Jema’s technical service department for more than 13 years.

How have these first months been since your arrival in the country?

Very enriching, although very hard work. During this time I’ve visited several of the facilities that are currently underway to meet our customers and present myself as a contact person for anything they need. In the JEMA approach, it is implicit to offer our customers a familiar face for them to turn to for advice or assistance. During my time here I have also met with our suppliers and contacts, to listen to them and identify needs and areas for improvement. The challenge is huge and we have a lot of work to do.

What is your mission in Mexico?

Currently, JEMA is commissioning equipment to provide more than 1,000 MW in Mexico. There are seven very large photovoltaic installations that will be operational next year. My mission here is to supervise the start-ups and ensure that they proceed correctly, within the deadlines and based on the client’s needs. In the installations that are already operational, I will coordinate support. At the same time, I am working to optimize the technical service network we have here, by coordinating our team and looking for new ways to ensure a robust and efficient network throughout the country

What is the most important thing right now to ensure the effectiveness of the service?

In total there are more than 430 solar photovoltaic inverters that have been installed or will be installed in the next months in the region. The main challenge is the geographical dispersion, as the plants are located in different areas of Mexico: Trompezón (Aguascalientes), Ciudad Juárez and Villa Ahumada (Chihuahua), Perote (Veracruz), Bensolar (Guanajato) … Moreover, this will be our base for coordinating start-up and assistance in other Central and South American countries. From here we also want to start support for the initial services in the United States market.

Right now we already have a 40 MW plant in Panama and we have one that until recently was the largest facility supplied by Jema, 100 MW in Cerro Dominador (Chile).  Covering this broad geographical area requires consolidation of our network and a greater presence where the installations are larger. Consolidating this structure and coordinating the entire team is the challenge we are working on.

How many technicians do you usually use to ensure the effectiveness of start-ups and repairs?

Assembly teams usually have two to six members with cross-cutting profiles (mechanics, electronics, etc.) based on the scheduled deadlines. Our goal is to reduce hot commissioning times as much as possible, by improving the processes we follow during cold commissioning, since we will energize the transformation centres from the modules and electrically validate the centres before plant connection.

How do you manage the maintenance of the equipment once it is in production?

The vast majority of technical incidents can be repaired by telephone. JEMA’s philosophy is to train its clients so that they can understand the equipment and to provide the relevant instructions by telephone. In this way the customer can perform repairs with targeted  telephone support. This means we can reduce unproductive time and increase the efficiency of our service. Accordingly, during the start-up we offer specialized training to facilitate these processes. For particular cases we can offer a guaranteed response time. Most of the equipment is supplied with a 5-year warranty, which can be extended to 25 years, with full inspections included at the frequency stipulated in the contract.

What resources do you have for delivery of this service?

Fortunately in Mexico we have a very solid infrastructure of more than 10 servicing points, as we have been working in the country for many years and have extensive experience in the sector. In addition, we have headquarters in Querétaro, which has a warehouse (including spare parts), offices and a financial and technical team.

How would you describe Jema’s technical staff?

JEMA’s philosophy of service involves hiring qualified people and training them in all products over time. As our areas of action are very specialized niches, this approach ensures technical teams that know the product perfectly. On the other hand, the technicians start to travel internationally from very early on for start-ups or repairs. This learning means they can appreciate cultural differences and understand different regulations. I myself have been in the JEMA service department for more than 13 years and have carried out numerous operations in countries such as Mexico, Chile, Argentina, the United States, South Africa, Oman, the Arab Emirates, France, Italy. This international experience gives you tools for establishing trusting relationships with clients from all countries and cultures.

Why should they trust you? What distinguishes the technical service that you offer?

We distinguish ourselves by offering a service tailored to every client and project. We understand that each maintenance contract has its own particularities, so our service must adapt to each one of them. In the photovoltaic sector in particular we have to adapt quickly to fast changing regulations to meet the requirements of national companies and power providers. This requires studying and anticipating changes in regulations by adapting our equipment quickly. In this sense, the added value is both in the service and in the technical department of JEMA, which addresses these changes with great agility.