Francisco García
Country Manager
Gransolar Group
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View from the Top

Pioneering PV Solar Operations

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 13:17

Q: What motivated Gransolar to outsource technology components in its integral service?

A: The Gransolar Group comprises several companies. Since we are vertically integrated, we can control the whole supply chain of a PV plant, from the engineering down to the workforce. The only components not integrated in our operations are solar inverters and modules. For instance, Ingenia Solar Energy (ISE), takes on all the engineering, GRS has the development and construction, PV Hardware (PVH) provides the trackers and SCADA solutions and Energy Storage Solutions (ESS), the batteries.

Q: How is Gransolar penetrating the solar market?

A: Our plan in Mexico is to act as technological partners, developers and promoters of the industry. We manage turnkey EPC projects for utility-scale solar power plants, as well as generation capacity and energy storage services. In partnership with ESS, we are developing our own battery system that would differentiate us among industrial users. We hope to provide support and stability in locations that lack a reliable network.

Gransolar is working on PV projects in the US, home to a more mature market that is strategically managed with fiscal incentives. In contrast, the Mexican market grew out of the reform and is based on auctioning projects to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. We have high expectations for this local market and see medium to long-term sustainable growth as feasible in the industry because it is growing 2 percent annually. We have been present in Mexico since 2016, and energized a 35MW PV plant in Camargo, Chihuahua. Few plants of this type have been constructed in Mexico and being part of this makes us feel like successful pioneers, having achieved tangible results and in line with quality standards stipulated by the client

Q: What issues have you observed following the auctions and with solar project implementation?

A: The fact that the market started with auctions is positive for the solar sector. The first auction was subject to several technical conditions aimed at focusing projects in areas that needed to reduce energy costs. The projects that were established in these zones came up against some permitting barriers, such as social and environmental impacts. We hope that all these projects can overcome these obstacles because it would send a vote of confidence to the industry. Finalizing projects would also lower energy costs and encourage other industries to operate in hubs that need the economic support.

Q: How can Mexico's electric infrastructure avoid congestion?

A: In light of new energy inputs, PRODESEN outlined a plan that will be in force up to 2031. This foresees improvements to the electrical system nationally, and implies we could overcome congestion in the transmission and distribution system. Depending on the success of the program, we may need to adopt measures that would redistribute foreign direct investment to improve this part of the infrastructure. Strengthening the network would mean Mexican states can share energy as needed, covering peaks and troughs more effectively. Alternatively, energy generation operations could be located closer to zones of high consumption. This would reduce the need for excessive energy transportation and make solid network coverage more attainable.

Q: What are Gransolar’s plans for its first decade in Mexico?

A: We are working with important companies toward materializing our ambitious pipeline of over 300MW in the next two years. All the companies that work with us recognize our reputation and know that we can offer a high technological value to them as business partners. As the reform consolidates, we plan to be at the forefront of the auctions and new projects in Mexico. In 10 years, we would like to reaffirm our strong position here and provide continuity to both our clients and partners. We are keen to involve the local population and suppliers in our projects, and also to implement social projects in several locations.