Renewable energy is the talk of the hour, and one name, Holger Schroth, stands out as a trailblazer in the industry. As the Chief Product Officer and Managing Director of Solar-Log GmbH, Schroth has proven himself to be an exceptional leader, driving innovation and spearheading the company’s growth with remarkable expertise. The Enterprise World is proud to introduce him as one of the Most Successful Business Leaders to Watch Out for in 2023.
With his visionary approach and keen understanding of the market, Schroth has consistently achieved remarkable results, solidifying his position as a prominent figure in the field. Through his unwavering commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of sustainable solutions, he has undoubtedly earned his place as a leader to be reckoned with.
He believes that business leadership has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. According to him, thriving in today’s competitive landscape requires certain quintessential qualities. Gone are the days of hierarchical functions; business leadership now presents a holistic challenge that extends beyond formal responsibilities.
Schroth adds, “Today, a manager or a leader must be strongly involved in many topics or contribute in such a way that colleagues are inspired by his or her ideas and actions. The focus is no longer solely on efficiency but also on fostering the development and commitment of team members.”
In many cases, finding innovative solutions to problems becomes paramount. Consequently, leadership in the present era presents an exhilarating and demanding undertaking for every manager. With his insightful perspective and commitment to excellence, Schroth exemplifies the essence of contemporary business leadership.
But where did it all start? Let’s take a look at his professional journey.
The Power of Purpose
In his original life plan, Holger Schroth never envisioned a career in management. However, assigned to a telecommunications unit in the German Armed Forces, Schroth encountered a leader who exuded calmness and composure while remaining steadfast in his principles. This encounter sparked a newfound contemplation of goals. One critical lesson imparted by this manager was the value of constant learning and personal development—an aspect that Schroth still prioritizes today.
Following his foray into the realm of solar power, Schroth crossed paths with an entrepreneur in the photovoltaic industry. Although PV modules and battery storage were nascent technologies at the time, the entrepreneur’s captivating story piqued his interest, compelling him to join the company. Initially starting as a technical trainer and later transitioning to the role of product manager for inverters and battery storage, he discovered the significance of effective and targeted storytelling.
Subsequently, Schroth’s path led him to a young Israeli/American start-up specializing in power optimizers and module-level monitoring. Here, as the Technical Marketing Manager, he immersed himself in the intricacies of bridging the gap between the market and the product team within an international company. Notably, the start-up he joined has since emerged as a world-leading inverter manufacturer.
“Today, I am learning a lot again and can additionally improve and use my learned skills by applying and deepening agile leadership methods and agile development processes in an established company like Solar-Log. So, the journey remains exciting.”
Shaping the Future
Founded in 2004, Solar-Log embarked on a remarkable journey that culminated in its acquisition by a Swiss energy group during a highly successful initial growth phase. Today, as an integral part of the BKW Group, Solar-Log operates in alignment with the overarching vision of its parent company: creating infrastructures for living spaces with a future.
In the early 2000s, Solar-Log emerged as a pioneering force in the realm of solar energy. Even at that time, the company possessed a forward-thinking perspective, recognizing the escalating significance of alternative energy sources. Anticipating the finite nature of fossil fuel reserves and the impending surge in energy demand, it proactively positioned itself. Aiming to establish a reliable and autonomous power supply through photovoltaics, the company embarked on a relentless pursuit of innovative and tailor-made energy system solutions.
Today, Solar-Log stands as a trusted independent partner, empowering businesses worldwide to efficiently and profitably manage the energy generated by their photovoltaic systems. By offering reliable monitoring services and delivering high-quality ‘Made in Germany’ products, it equips its clientele with the tools necessary to actively contribute to the global energy transition while simultaneously safeguarding the environment. Through its unwavering commitment to excellence and sustainability, Solar-Log has solidified its position as a driving force behind the widespread adoption of renewable energy solutions.
Driving Growth and Success
At the helm of Solar-Log, Schroth deftly juggles numerous roles and responsibilities, assuming a multitude of hats within the organization. However, he recognizes the strength of collaboration. He says, “The great thing is that I don’t have to shoulder everything myself, as part of a management team we benefit from the fact that each of us has our strengths and weaknesses and we complement each other very well.”
Schroth’s specific area of expertise lies in product strategy, overseeing the development processes that span from conception to production. This multifaceted task presents an exhilarating challenge, requiring him to harmonize market dynamics with organizational processes. He also addresses the diverse challenges encountered in day-to-day operations.
Throughout his illustrious journey, Schroth has amassed a series of notable accomplishments. He takes pride in his direct involvement in gathering user feedback during the early stages of product launches. This hands-on approach enables him to swiftly identify and rectify any minor or major issues, ensuring that Solar-Log’s products meet the highest standards.
Additionally, Schroth has made significant strides in stabilizing roadmap processes, ensuring that the company remains focused on critical priorities and agreed-upon objectives. These achievements demonstrate his commitment to continuous improvement and his dedication to delivering exceptional value to Solar-Log’s customers.
In pursuit of staying attuned to the ever-evolving business landscape, Holger Schroth remains committed to staying informed and adaptable. Recognizing the importance of change in driving progress, he actively seeks opportunities to update his knowledge and insights.
For Schroth, fostering personal connections and engaging in exchanges with individuals outside of his immediate industry holds great significance. By engaging with diverse perspectives, he broadens his own thinking and gains valuable insights that inform his decision-making. This commitment to understanding various viewpoints enables him to navigate the complexities of the business world with a well-rounded perspective.
Furthermore, he also recognizes the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Regularly disconnecting from work, especially during periods dedicated to personal education, allows him to recharge and cultivate a sense of well-being. Additionally, Schroth finds solace and balance in his passion for archery, finding it to be a rewarding pursuit outside of his professional responsibilities. This commitment to self-care ensures that he remains energized and focused in all areas of his life.
“If you enjoy what you do, it’s easy to put your free time on the back burner.”
Schroth encountered several challenges during his professional journey, with one of the most significant being the transition from his military service to the private sector. Shifting from a highly structured and hierarchical organization to an environment that thrived on initiative, collaboration, and creative thinking proved to be a formidable adjustment. Nonetheless, he embraced the change and quickly adapted to the dynamic nature of the business world.
In addition to the initial transition, navigating cultural differences presented another set of challenges. Interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds required a deeper level of engagement and understanding. However, Schroth was fortunate to have a mentor who played a pivotal role during his time at an Israeli/American company—Yoni Ziv.
He holds immense admiration for Ziv, as he not only imparted valuable lessons on intercultural competence but also demonstrated remarkable technical expertise. Through their everyday interactions, Ziv skillfully guided Schroth in developing a nuanced understanding of working effectively across cultures, fostering personal growth in both professional and interpersonal realms.
Schroth’s ability to overcome these challenges with resilience and a willingness to learn exemplifies his adaptable and open-minded approach to his professional journey. Through these experiences, he gained valuable insights that continue to shape his leadership style and intercultural competencies today.
A key element contributing to the enduring success of the company lies in its exceptional customer access. With a focused approach in core markets, the company has achieved remarkable penetration, establishing deep connections with customers and engaging in projects from their nascent stages. This early involvement allows for a thorough understanding of customer needs and enables the company to deliver tailored solutions.
Schroth adds, “Another crucial driver of success has been the relentless pursuit of compatibility expansion. By continually enhancing compatibility with various systems and technologies, we ensured greater flexibility to meet the evolving demands of its users.” This commitment to adaptability positions the company at the forefront of the industry, catering to a wide range of customer requirements and preferences.
Furthermore, the company’s keen focus on overall success plays a pivotal role in sustaining its growth. Emphasizing profitability, it promptly discards unprofitable ideas, ensuring a streamlined and efficient operation. This decisive approach enables the company to prioritize resources effectively, channeling efforts into ventures that yield the highest returns and fuel long-term success. By consistently making sound business decisions, the company maintains its competitive edge and secures its position as a leader in the industry.
A Culture of Trust and Collaboration
The team at Solar-Log comprises a diverse group of colleagues who collaborate seamlessly, despite being spread across the globe. Building and maintaining such a global team requires a foundation of trust, which Schroth readily extends to his employees.
“I am convinced that every employee is ready to contribute in an appropriate environment and that new ideas will emerge as a result.”
Adopting a coaching approach, Schroth sees himself as a facilitator rather than a traditional authoritative figure. Rather than simply giving orders, he encourages a culture of continuous improvement. During planning meetings or project reviews, the focus lies not on assigning blame but on identifying areas where the team can collectively enhance their performance.
This collaborative mindset allows for a vibrant exchange of ideas and fosters an atmosphere of growth and development. Schroth finds great satisfaction in witnessing the personal and professional growth of both young and experienced colleagues as they embrace their responsibilities and rise to the challenges presented to them.
What does Solar-Log offer?
Solar-Log’s distinguishing factor from its competitors is undeniably its unparalleled market access to customers and its extensive support for a wide array of components. Boasting an impressive portfolio, the company offers compatibility with over 2300 different devices from more than 130 manufacturers, setting it apart as a comprehensive solution provider.
At the forefront of its product offerings is its advanced Web platform, WEB Enerest 4. This cutting-edge platform caters specifically to TCM operators, delivering a superior product that surpasses industry standards. With a range of powerful features and functionalities, WEB Enerest 4 empowers operators to effectively monitor and manage their solar systems, optimizing performance and maximizing energy generation.
Additionally, its hardware platform, the Solar-Log Base, revolutionizes the utilization of solar energy in smart energy applications. Equipped with a diverse range of active and reactive power control loops, the Solar-Log Base ensures grid stability and reliability, particularly in smart grid environments. By seamlessly integrating into existing energy infrastructures, the company enables users to harness the full potential of photovoltaic energy while ensuring the seamless operation of the power grid.
Through its unrivaled market access and comprehensive product offerings, Solar-Log positions itself as a leader in the industry, providing customers with unmatched compatibility and a range of innovative solutions for efficient energy management and grid stability.
A Way Forward
Solar-Log is currently focused on two significant areas of development. The first area entails enhancing support for technical users in system analysis to facilitate faster and more accurate detection and resolution of faults. By providing comprehensive tools and resources, it aims to streamline troubleshooting processes and optimize system performance, enabling users to maintain the highest levels of operational efficiency.
The second major area of emphasis for the company revolves around integrating devices in the field with energy markets, fostering increased value for users. By establishing robust connections between devices and energy markets, it seeks to unlock additional benefits and opportunities for users. This integration will enable users to access real-time data, optimize energy consumption, and make informed decisions based on market dynamics, ultimately enhancing their overall energy management strategies.
Through these ongoing efforts, Solar-Log remains committed to driving continuous improvement and innovation. By addressing the needs of technical users and enhancing the integration of devices with energy markets, it strives to provide its customers with cutting-edge solutions that deliver enhanced performance, increased efficiency, and greater value.
Valuable Client Testimonials
Kai Lauterjung, CEO of TK Energy GmbH
“Since 2018, TK Energy GmbH has been building and operating PV systems on commercial roofs in sizes ranging from 100 kWp to several MWp. We currently have around 50 systems in our portfolio. As we are a small but highly professional team, we place the greatest emphasis on efficiency and the greatest possible support with our partners.
In the area of plant control and regulation, we rely on the products of Solar-Log GmbH. With Solar-Log we have innovative products and a reliable partner at hand, which is essential for our daily work processes.
Particularly in plant control and regulation, we have complete trust in the products of Solar-Log GmbH, because even the integration of plants in the medium voltage level is uncomplicated. In particular, the development of the control concept for complex plants succeeds smoothly thanks to the exceptionally good support.
Certification and the declaration of conformity to be drawn up are made much easier for us thanks to the diverse graphical measurement options. Likewise, the integration and billing of direct marketing can be done quickly and without any problems. We rely on the data processing interface of the Solar-Log in combination with Interconnector.
We use the Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ 4 portal for the daily monitoring of the system parameters of each PV plant and the control of our maintenance teams. The full integration of the controller interface enables simple correction of any performance problems and the control of maintenance cycles. In the event of major operating problems, we are professionally supported by the support team and even complex problems can be quickly resolved via an escalation option.
We are very convinced of our decision for Solar-Log.”
Martina Ćurić from PAMETNA ENERGIJA d.o.o. –
We, at Smart Energy use Solar-Log because it provides a comprehensive solution that allows our customers to fully leverage the potential of solar energy. They can monitor various parameters such as power output, energy production, weather conditions and system health.
It supports a wide range of PV inverters and electric meters, including those from different manufacturers.
This compatibility ensures us that Solar Log can be integrated with various types of PV systems. With just an internet connection, it enables remote access to PV plant monitoring, suitable for managing multiple PV plants or installations in different locations.
Seamless integration with demand response programs allows our customers to actively contribute to grid stability and maximize energy savings.
Holger Schroth finds inspiration in the wisdom and guidance of four influential individuals who have left a lasting impact on his life and professional journey. Each of these figures holds a special place in his heart and serves as a source of motivation and insight.
First and foremost, Simon Sinek stands as an endless source of inspiration for him. Sinek’s profound understanding of the “why, how, and what” of leadership and business provides Schroth with invaluable answers and guidance as he navigates his own professional path.
Steve Jobs, a visionary entrepreneur, also holds a prominent place in his list of inspirational figures. Jobs’ remarkable ability to transform the world by focusing on a select few products and understanding the user experience has left an indelible mark on his approach to business and innovation.
Schroth finds support and inspiration from his wife. Her steadfast presence, even during challenging times, never ceases to amaze him and serves as a reminder of the strength of their bond. Lastly, he reflects fondly on his conversations with Yoni Ziv, finding new perspectives and insights in their past discussions that continue to resonate and provide practical guidance in his everyday life. The wisdom imparted by Ziv, a trusted colleague and mentor, has proven invaluable in Schroth’s personal and professional growth.
By drawing inspiration from these four influential individuals, Holger Schroth continually seeks to expand his horizons, develop as a leader, and approach life’s challenges with fresh perspectives and renewed determination.