Rafael López de Cárdenas
COO
Main Energy Projects
/
Insight

Integrated EPC Services for Solar Plants

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 15:15

EPC has been a thorn in the side of many a project developer, as it can involve having to find separate firms to deal with engineering, procurement and contracting. Main Energy Projects’ (MEP) ability to provide services across all aspects of EPC is what allows it to stand out. 

Finding that Mexico had great solar and wind potential but lacked the policies to operate very large renewable energy projects, MEP’s founders started the company in 2011 to provide integrated EPC services for large PV plants.

MEP’s COO, Rafael López de Cárdenas, says that this integrated strategy gives the company greater control over its projects, by directly working on them at every stage. “Trusting the high engineering standards that Germany has become identified with, MEP is known for hiring German engineers to oversee every project the company develops. López de Cárdenas explains that, unlike many competitors, his company will not focus exclusively on larger consumers, either among the government or in heavy industry. “The residential sector provides great opportunities, but analysis shows that it is a highly competitive market. It is this in- depth analysis of the residential sector that has made MEP optimistic that Mexicans are increasingly paying attention to the environment. In 2013, more and more companies have been creating products and solutions for housing and for small businesses,” explains López de Cardenas. “This has led us to the conclusion that Mexicans are starting to take better care of the environment.” Although it began with a double focus on wind and solar, from 2012, MEP turned its attention largely on solar and began leveraging its relationships with German firms specialized in PV energy transmission. MEP is aware that solar technology is a rapidly evolving sector so these relationships allow the firm to constantly refresh its portfolio of products, while also having signed collaborative agreements with laboratories, to constantly monitor the performance and quality of its products.

López de Cárdenas says that many entrepreneurs look for short-term profits by signing EPC contracts with international companies. However, he challenges companies who say they want the wealth they create to stay in Mexico to contract firms that use Mexican labor for a project’s engineering and construction. He adds that although MEP brings in German engineers for projects due to their high standards and experience, the firm values collaborating with national firms because they know the market, policies, and contracts. As López de Cárdenas explains, a company has a better chance of succeeding in a foreign market when it is inclined to adapt rather than impose a single structure and strategy on its operations. In that line, despite building its early reputation on German expertise, MEP “wants to acquire less from Germany and make the most with what can be done in Mexico.”