Solar Heat Investment Opportunities in Mexico's Energy Sector
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Solar Heat Investment Opportunities in Mexico's Energy Sector

Photo by:   CITRUS
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Mikael Kaivola - CITRUS
Vice President

STORY INLINE POST

Q: What are the main differences between the investor appetite for solar thermal energy and solar electricity-focused opportunities in Mexico, and how would you describe the mood of investors?

A: The investment mood is shifting rapidly in both the renewable electricity sector as well as the solar thermal market in Mexico. Changing government policy has resulted in the electricity market becoming increasingly challenging for the companies offering solutions in the sector. Such interventions mean added uncertainty with an adverse impact on investor sentiment. We have all witnessed major international players opting to completely abandon the sector as a result.

On the other hand, rapidly rising natural gas prices and companies’ desire to decarbonize their industrial processes have given a much-needed boost to companies wanting to invest in solar thermal generation plants. The industrial solar thermal market is a rapidly emerging market opportunity that does not depend on government policy, as it has no legal barriers impacting the execution of the projects. There are few established players in the sector ready to offer solutions to the industry, so from an investor’s perspective, this represents a huge opportunity.

 

Q: What are the main drivers behind the value proposition that incentivizes large heat energy consumers to shift from hydrocarbons to solar thermal solutions, and how does this help CITRUS value its business?

A: The main industrial drive to transition from hydrocarbons towards solar thermal solutions is the need to reduce CO2 emissions. Seventy percent of the total energy consumed within the industry is heat, which is generated by burning fossil fuels, primarily natural gas. Therefore, industrial solar thermal solutions have proven to be the most effective response for companies wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.

Secondly, the cost of operation is key. Suppliers of solar thermal generation plants must be able to offer a competitive alternative to fossil fuels in order to reduce operational costs. The third driver pertains to energy security. Mexico’s dependency on cheap, imported natural gas is a major risk. A solar thermal plant will make sure that the industry continues to operate during shortages.

CITRUS guarantees a reliable, competitive, and CO2-free energy supply at a competitive price for up to 25 years without having to invest in large-scale solar installations. The company can mass produce the world´s most efficient concentrated solar collectors with a production capacity of 300.000m2 or 150MW annually, equivalent to one solar collector every six minutes. Furthermore, CITRUS sells solar thermal generation plants, through CAPEX, and industrial solar heat energy-as-a-service against energy contracts, via OPEX. CITRUS will deploy and operate the solar thermal installations. Customer benefits include increased competitiveness and profitability because of reduced operational costs, no dependency on fossil fuels, no CO2 emissions and added energy security.

 

Q: What makes the Absolicon technology uniquely suited to revolutionize heat supply for industrial processes through concentrated solar power in Mexico?

A: Absolicon is a Swedish listed company and technology supplier to CITRUS in Mexico. It is a global player and its technology has been proven and tested by major multinational companies in various parts of the world. Solar Keymark for Europe and ICC SRCC for North America have certified the company’s performance guarantees as the most efficient concentrated solar technology in the world, generating hot water up to 160°C or 8 bar of steam. Furthermore, Mexico´s large industrial base in combination with its enormous solar resource makes it an ideal candidate for the adoption of Absolicon solar technology.

 

Q: What are the investor profiles that CITRUS is looking for in the different stages of its development process, and why?

A: We have initiated our seed investment round and are actively pursuing two types of investors: the private angel investor and strategic investors. In the short term, we seek to raise US$250,000 with angel investors. The capital will be used to accelerate the production line order and to set up a holding company in the US.

In parallel, we are currently in talks with several potential strategic investors. These are leading companies already operating in the Mexican energy market or VCs specialized in the energy markets, with the desire to diversify their current portfolio, willing to expand their business beyond Mexico and ready to invest to make that happen. We aim to raise a total of US$2.5 million with strategic investors in order to launch the production in Mexico.

 

Q: What will success in 2023 look like for CITRUS?

A: To successfully initiate the installations of several large-scale industrial solar thermal plants that we are currently working on, including the pilot project with Grupo Modelo, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, would be the benchmark for success. The full potential for solar heat installations at Grupo Modelo plants in Mexico exceeds 180 000m2, which would be one of the largest industrial solar thermal installations in the world if fully implemented.

 

CITRUS is an engineering consultancy based in Mexico City, Mexico. CITRUS is an official production line partner to Absolicon and they work towards finding and integrating the right clean, competitive energy technologies and solutions for manufacturing. You can find more info about the CITRUS partnership with Absolicon in this press release.

Photo by:   CITRUS

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