Daniel Vázquez
Partner
Grupo Vázquez Vela
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Capitalizing on Unexplored Opportunities of Mexico's Solar Market

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 13:06

Q: What business opportunities did the reform open to Grupo Vázquez Vela?

A: The Energy Reform is an important step forward, especially considering its compulsory nature. We saw an opportunity in the end-user segment, fostered by the Energy Transition Law. Our technology pertains to photovoltaic integration in buildings, through construction materials: glass and floor tiles. These generate on-site electricity in the structure’s thermal enclosure or domes and parking ceilings, depending on what our clients want. Not only does the building use renewable energy as a primary source but it also avoids energy loss in bypassing the need for electric transmission.

 

Q: What are Mexico’s biggest challenges in terms of distributed generation?

A: The government is greatly focused on the long-term electricity auctions because this particular segment was under its control prior to the liberalization of the sector and the consequent restructuring of CFE. Yet, the rise of new technologies, products and services for final consumers of electricity has been overlooked. With the exception of fiscal incentives related to household electricity consumption using clean energy, there is not much else. We are supplying various government dependencies with our products, yet the decision-making process slows the use of our products. We are in talks with the relevant regulatory authorities to raise our concerns and present our products and services, which are highly popular across the board, but they are still dealing with slow implementation processes that they are working to make more efficient. We are looking to tap into on-site generation of electricity produced by clean energy sources, primarily through solar power. To that end, we are also reaching out to the private sphere, in particular the construction industry associations ke the Association of Real-Estate Developers (ADI), to create awareness about our product and technologies.

 

Q: What is the comparative advantage of Onyx’s PV glass, which Grupo Vázquez Vela distributes?

A: A corporate building that wants to shift toward renewable energy produced on-site cannot consider solar panels because it would not have the space for the number of solar modules required to satisfy the structure’s energy demand. Such an installation would also incur additional construction costs in the case of a new building, further lengthening the project’s ROI. As a construction material, Onyx’s solar glass can be used for building façades, domes or terrace floor tiles. We distribute this patented product and technology, which comes from Spain, and it could be a game changer in modifying Mexico’s construction culture. It can even be integrated into projects as a replacement for conventional glass. Our material can take on any shape, size, thickness and even color. The cost is practically the same as conventional glass. Any differential cost generated by a particular request from a client can be recovered by an ROI of less than a year, considering all the intrinsic fiscal benefits and energy savings. We turn expenses into investments. Our product’s added value is our capacity to deliver an integral turnkey project, including the fixation system of a building’s primary structure, supplying and affixing the PV glass and interconnection.

 

Q: What are your most recent projects?

A: Our most notable project to date is FEMSA’s corporate offices in Monterrey. The 50-year-old building underwent a renovation project where we covered the façade with doubleskinned PV glass. We are also developing the largest green plant in the beer industry, located in Chihuahua, for Heineken. As a Spanish product, Onyx obtains financing for these projects through CESCE for a certain volume of exported products. This financing option has an attractive 2.29 percent interest rate over a five-year period without collateral or biannual payments. We also turn to local financial entities or our own financial resources.

Grupo Vázquez Vela is a sustainable holding company operating in the market through a conglomerate of different companies, covering clean-energy generation, infrastructure maintenance and the food and drinks industry.