Despite being the second year of global pandemic, the solar energy market demonstrated unprecedented growth with 25.9GW added solar capacity in the EU for 2021. Solarpro also took a significant step forward and entered the GW league, what are the challenges that come with expansion and work of such scale?
2021 was a unique year full of surprises for everyone within the supply chain. There were certainly waves of ups and downs, but the challenges we faced last year were mostly related to the market situation rather than due to the expansion we did.
Around 40% increased costs for PV Modules, together with the shortage on the market at certain times caused much higher turbulences and difficulties for prediction of deliveries. It was necessary to have a quick, yet continuous and dynamic reaction on the changing working conditions on site and redistribute workers to other projects until waiting for PV module delivery.
Of course, scale means more resources, we started managing close to 1000 people and that requires a completely different management plan. Inevitably, the list with challenges also includes the Covid pandemic and the number of affected people we had by it, but at certain moment we were doing close to 900 MWp projects simultaneously. Certainly, it was not an easy period of time, but with more than 14 years of experience behind our backs and the right strategy, we managed to pull through successfully.
Last year Solarpro founded a new engineering center in India as well as two new company structures in Romania & Czech Republic, how has been the integration so far, what other markets are on the horizon for Solarpro?
Solarpro is a technology company and opening an engineering center in India was a step forward for increasing our capacity for engineering and design services as well as for improvement and optimization of the projects. India is a competitive market, tapping into it brings good industrial practice and increasing our know-how and performance oriented approach in the development of projects.
We are following the strategy of sustainable growth we have in terms of technology and scale and we are looking forward to multiple large-scale projects in the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. We are familiar with the market specifics of these countries since we have vast experience and good understanding from the whole life cycle of projects. In terms of market expansion this year we will stay within Europe, adding projects in Greece and possibly Austria.
Solarpro was also recently awarded AQPV certification, why is that significant for future endeavors?
Solarpro is the first Bulgarian and I believe international company which has received AQPV certification. It was a long and multiple step procedure for verification, including tests which allowed us to demonstrate our adherence to international standards and our best tried-and-tested practices in all aspects of EPC and O&M of PV power plants.
Being recognized by a French certification body further strengthens our position and demonstrates our high work ethic and commitment to always deliver the best results for our clients and partners. Recently it was announced that France will add 5 GWp worth of PV plants to the grid on an annual basis, so being certified to work there certainly is an exciting opportunity and we are looking forward to expanding our portfolio in the region.
What are the company’s ambitions for 2022?
To become a global leader of innovative green energy solutions is our ultimate goal, being recognized as such on European level is our ambition for 2022. As a company with strong focus on the engineering and technology aspect we will continue our journey of digitalizing most aspects of our work. The current implementation of the new financial and accounting software platform will highly support the dynamic on the projects and provide real time data to project managers. Improving and optimizing HSE and QA part, using software to monitor and record the events will also be vital for improving final performance.
Besides ambitions for scale and new markets, our focus will remain on people and people management. We are currently integrating new platform for people development and performance for better and clear structuring the processes and goal setting within the company.
With adding all these projects across Europe to the distribution and transmission grid, it will require a new look and changes on the grids itself. Solarpro is committed to not only realize design and development projects in terms of energy storage systems, but to also continue with hydrogen projects. An interesting year is coming for us again.