Juan Ávila
Director
Top Energy
/
View from the Top

Smart Energy Systems for Self-Consumption

By Dalia Maria de León | Mon, 04/27/2020 - 17:50

Q: What has been the company’s main success story since the creation of the Energy Reform and what specific factors led to this achievement?

A: The first milestone was our move into the industrial and commercial segment, given our previous focus on distributed generation for homes and farm. With our new direction, we have worked with big industrial and commercial brands, such as Walmart and JM Romo in Aguascalientes.

 

Q: What is the main concern that customers have when they come to do business with Top Energy?

A: The concerns have varied over the years. At first, clients were mainly concerned about the use of technology.  Later, regulatory issues like CFE permitting in 2013 became prime concerns.  Currently, the major concerns are related to pricing and the brands we use. Compliance with regulations covering distributed generation is another area of concern.

One characteristic that differentiates us from the competition is that we are highly compliant in our projects, which is of the utmost importance in the industrial sector. For example, we are commissioning risk insurance for power plants, which is a requirement in the industrial sector.  

 

Q: What impact do Top Energy's services have on its customers?

A: We help our customers to save more than US$50,000 per year at a 500KW power plant. Depending on the industry, that amount could total as much as 95 percent of overall revenue or less than 5 percent.

We obviously have an impact on the environment because we are using less energy from CFE, which means we are generating less pollution. People love to talk about this in their social networks but when it comes to making real decisions, the important fact is the impact on the savings they get. 

 

Q: What is your most in-demand service and how has demand evolved?

A: Installation is the most in-demand service. As an EPC company, our main objective is to build new power plants. Although the main objective is to generate power, our main stream of resources comes from building new power plants for our partner Energía Real, as well as for other customers. When clients decide to save money when buying a power generator, it is a priority for us to be there and build their plant and allow them to shift to this technology.

When we started this business in 2013, we had between four and seven big projects with capacities of 100KW to 150KW per year.  Now, we have five or six projects of 500KW per year, and we have a total of 30 projects of 100 to 300 KW, mostly domestic installations and smaller projects. Demand for bigger projects has increased.

 

Q: What changes could be made in the Mexican regulatory framework to increase the competitiveness of solar energy in the country?

A: We used to hold meetings with CRE every 15 days to obtain permits. Today, the issuance of permits has slowed down. We need CRE to hold sessions more frequently so we can address the increasing demand for energy in the country. Also, we need much more investment in distribution grids because they are congested. With distributed generation and self-supply, we can bypass the congestion in the grid. If private companies generate the energy they consume, the federal government would be able to save on its investments in grid connections. That would be a win-win for everyone. 

Q: What role should energy clusters play in the regulatory framework discussions between the public and private sectors?

A: The ideal would be to generate new ideas regarding public policy, especially in those states that have energy clusters. For example, the energy cluster in Aguascalientes is willing to help generate public policy on energy that could, in turn, be used by the federal government to shape the overall policy.  

I have been involved with the Energy Commission of COPARMEX for the past six years. We have created the energy clusters for Aguascalientes and the Bajio, for which I am the president. What we look for in those organizations is to generate public policy. We know that the government cannot always aid in the industry’s development and sometimes, the states have not been ready to receive a specific investment because the suppliers were from other regions.

 

Q: How have the changes to the regulatory framework impacted Top Energy’s operations?

A: Since 2014, we have not depended on the government. That is a company policy: we do not have commercial relations with the government. Our independence has strengthened our company’s position, which allows us to take advantage of business opportunities, such as distributed generation and storage. The sector has the technology, the market and the regulatory framework that allows companies to look for another supplier that is not the government. Our strategy is to adapt to this new reality by keeping an open channel with the government while furthering business with our customers.

Top Energy is a company founded in 2013. It is headquartered in Aguascalientes and its business is oriented towards the installation of small, medium and large energy systems for self-consumption.

Dalia Maria de León Dalia Maria de León Journalist & Industry Analyst