Enerray will be exhibiting its latest products at The Big 5 Solar in Dubai next November. We spoke to the Business Development and Sales Director, Antonio Capua; here's what he told us as he prepares to participate to the the largest solar meeting place
How do you find the solar market in the Middle East right now?
The energy market sector in the Middle East is having an important shift towards solar energy due to the ever lower costs of solar energy and from the other side an increase in the price of fossil fuels. The use of renewable energy is gaining political attention and many Middle Eastern countries are putting in place ambitious renewable energy programs, particularly due to the increase of electrification rate and energy demand in the region.
Enerray believes in this change with the purpose to develop new projects and implement the existing ones, and assert itself in new markets in the area of the Middle East. In fact, it works in a 50% joint venture with a Saudi company.
Nowadays Enerray is active in many countries of Mena Regions, such as Turkey (through a 50% joint venture with the company Tekno) where Enerray is the market leader with 130 MWp of activated power, Jordan where two PV plants for a total power of 33 MWp have been connected, the United Arab Emirates with a dedicated branch office in Dubai, Egypt (as developer, sponsor, EPC and O&M Contractor for 116 MWp in Benban) and Oman.
Why would you recommend doing business in this region?
The high volatility of oil prices and its recent fall in 2016 has caused several regional oil-producing governments to rethink their public subsidy programs and move toward rewriting their social contracts, cracking open the door for residential and commercial solar developers. One of the most important examples is the United Arab Emirates through their Shams Dubai program.
While Governments have taken steps to stimulate the development of renewable energy in their respective countries, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and development agencies are playing an important role in funding projects.
Multilateral Development Banks interest in investing in Middle East is high because they recognize that energy and development go hand in hand, with clean electricity production being one of the main drivers of sustainable economic growth. Moreover these banks have no problem to finance renewable energy projects with lending terms of 20 years or more, because in these countries there is a strong development mandate.
What are the top 3 trends in the industry according to you?
For a solar EPC, margins are very compressed, independently from the complexities of every single market. With the current level of market competition, nearly the 100% of key component price drop goes for the benefit of clients; of course more projects can be realized worldwide with a lower CAPEX so we would say that we do have a positive indirect effect. Utility-scale projects will probably become bigger and bigger and contracts will be more segmented. This implies high turnover but also high risks, since that an EPC has to work with very low margins in percentage. In this context the quality and experience of the EPC makes the difference.
A second trend is represented by the development of programs related to the use of solar energy for consumption purposes, such as “Net Metering”" and “Distributed Generation”.
Many countries in Middle East implemented and are currently looking to implement energy reforms to cut energy subsidies in order to reduce pressure on government spending. One of the solutions is to overturn these costs, financing distributed energy programs, or programs that can incentivize the use of renewable energy by private individuals (residential, industrial and commercial users) in order to lower consumption and therefore the costs of electricity. Enerray is the ideal partner to develop and install these systems (for example on malls and for other energy-intensive companies), being one of the biggest EPC contractor in the world for rooftop PV plants, with more than 180 PV plants installed.
The development of technology never stops and the need to face new challenges has led Enerray to develop other solar technologies, such as Off Grid solutions. Enerray operates in the global off grid market through the company Plug the Sun, a firm capable to offer customizable solutions and innovative and unique products for rural electrification and urban living. The company is young but very active and is working on different projects, from Latin America to South East Asia, for the installation of thousands solar home systems. One example is the installation and maintenance of 8,500 Off Grid SHS that are going to be installed across 8 regions in Argentina covering an area of approximately 2,8 Million of km2. The installations are part of the PERMER project, issued by the by the Argentinian Energy Minister (PERMER) and financed by the World Bank Group.
What do these mean for your company?
Enerray’s business has been growing for 11 years thanks to a strategy based on globalization by focusing on new areas. It has managed to expand despite the photovoltaic market in Italy being hit by sudden and drastic changes resulting in a marked case of “natural selection” with many companies folding as the State pulled the plug on economic incentives. The Enerray story is an unusual case in the Italian photovoltaic market scenario, which a few years ago faced a dual crisis: the global recession and the drastic cut in State incentives to promote green energy.
Enerray had to learn how to adapt to the changes in Italian laws concerning the regulation of photovoltaic sector, the incessant growth in bureaucracy and the increasingly difficult access to credit for customers due to the global economic crisis.
In order to tackle these enormous changes, Enerray has focused its action on developing a simple and transparent commercial policy based on the consolidation of its position in the Italian market and expansion of its business through an internationalization process.
Enerray is the direct result of an aware forward-looking approach of Maccaferri Industrial Group, a corporation active in the most advanced industrial sectors since 1879, with a turnover of over €1.0 billion, 4,944 employees and 55 factories worldwide, making it one of the most important economic players in Europe.
Thanks to its ability to adapt to the continuous changes in the photovoltaic market and thanks to the financial strength of the Group to which it belongs, Enerray has been able and will be able to face the challenges of solar sector.
What products will you present at The Big 5 Solar?
Today Enerray is present with its photovoltaic installations in Europe, Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Latin America for a total of about 800 MWp installed and under construction, and 800 MWp under maintenenace.
Our hearth is Italian, such as our excellence and attention to design, but our structure is conceived as global, organized in associate companies across 5 continents, which constantly study regional needs, cooperate with the local institutions and technicians, seek out and propose the most advanced solutions in the areas of our expertise.
Enerray’s services are based on a well established experienced and includes:
Project Scouting: Through our extended international network, Enerray scouts on a continuous basis solar investment opportunities (mainly green field) with an investor rather than a developer approach.
Project Development: Full coverage of the development areas in order to deploy “ready-to-build” projects including: ✔Environmental studies ✔Land permitting ✔Grid authorizations ✔Planning and engineering ✔PPA or Feed-in-Tariff scheme contracts analysis.
Financing: We may, depending on client needs, assist in raising the financing resources needed for project’s development and construction, thanks to our solid track record in structuring non-recourse or limited recourse financing schemes. The financial soundness and the reliability we ensure as part of the Maccaferri Group, as well as the strong relationships with the principal banking institutions and development banks (as IFC and EBRD), make Enerray an ideal partner for those who wish to invest with confidence in this area.
EPC: We provide to our clients a full “turn-key” EPC contract and related services until the COD (Commerical Operation Date). Every component used during the construction of our plants is carefully selected on the world market, using our consolidated partnerships with the suppliers and aiming towards the best ratio between product quality, reliability of the company, and the costs to be sustained.
O&M: We provide best in class O&M services for the entire life of the PV plant in order to enable the solar plant to maximize the production. Enerray is the first italian O&M operator with more than 580 MWp managed in Italy.
We dedicate all our energy to constantly improving our results, our services and our professionalism, by installing projects with high standards of design, so that we stay at the forefront in all our business activities worldwide.
Regarding Plug the Sun, we recently launched a new product: RAYGO150. It’s a portable solar home system with Pay as You Go feature that offers clean DC power to recharge phones and DC small devices. This product is going to be added to the Plug the Sun’s family of products that integrates solar energy and smart battery storage technology in a modular and “plug&play” solution.
How will the exhibition help you to grow business in the UAE?
Big5 Solar brings together top exhibitors and influential decision makers and professionals from local and international brands for 4 days of business and networking opportunities.
For Enerray is an important exhibition to show its experience and capacity to bring Italian excellence, design and engineering abroad. It is also an opportunity to meet and keep in touch with international investors, stakeholders and decision makers interested and focused on Middle East.