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Business & Company

Home > Worldwide PV Report > Business & Company

Enfinity Making PV Accessible for Everyone

Enfinity entered solar business in 2005 in Belgium. It was the first player in Belgium. Two university friends, Patrick Decuyper and Gino Van Neer, founded Enfinity. Their vision: Enfinity is the combination of two words--energy and infinity. They wanted to start up a business with the natural, infinite resources that are free to capture with technologies like solar panels and wind turbines. And they definitely wanted to build this business. Today, Enfinity develops and builds ‘turnkey‘ installations for maximum electricity production and is one of the largest companies within the renewable energy sector.
Steven De Tollenaere, CEO of Enfinity, talks about the company‘s competitive edges and recent developments.

Reported by Jeanny H. Lim (swied@infothe.com)

 

 

 

Could you tell us some of the competitive edges that differentiate you from your competitors in the solar market?

Our global experience and local approach are what differentiate us from the competition. We understand the local markets very well. We always work with experienced local people. Thanks to our international position we can make global deals with our suppliers as well as with some of our global customers.

We cover the complete Development, Installation and Operations area within the downstream market. Development, Finance, Construction, Operation, Maintenance. And we manage our own solar installations as IPP.            

 

In the solar market, where would you put your focus in 2011 in terms of both business growth and technology development?

We will continue to expand our European business, with a focus on Italy and France. We recently launched the U.K. market as well. In the Americas, we are building a substantial business in Canada. We also continue to expand our U.S. business and recently acquired a small local developer to that effect. In Asia, there are a number of Southeast Asian countries with a strong potential.

We use all available PV technologies, which we apply according to the needs and specificities of the local market.

 

Enfinity has recently joined the market of electricity producers by establishing Enfinity Power business unit. Is this the logical next step in your strategy for growth?

The business objective from Enfinity Power is to become a real Independent Power Producer (IPP), producing and selling renewable power to customers. Enfinity Power will keep full control in some of the Enfinity developed Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), the companies that are specifically set up for each renewable energy project. This will generate a predictable and recurring income base in addition to the current development model in which we sell our shares in the SPV when a project has been completed. In that respect, this move into the IPP market is a key milestone in the development of our company.

 

 

Enfinity holds a unique position in the PV market thanks to the ‘first mover strategy’. Could you introduce the strategy?

Very easy, being the first on the market with an Enfinity agent or local Enfinity developer, even before there is a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) system or other subvention system in place gives you an enormous advantage. It does require an agile organization that adapts quickly to changing circumstances. One has to react very quickly to new circumstances.

 

 

Which type of PV panels do you usually use for your projects?

We use different types of panel and construction systems for rooftop and ground. We can offer a solution for every type of rooftop. Our PV solutions department is looking on a daily basis into new technologies.

 

Installing a PV system is a complex job, requiring both technical expertise and the ability to navigate the thicket of permits and incentives to get your project approved and financed. What do you think makes your solar installation unique?

Developing the project from A to Z is indeed a complex job--talented and experienced people and a good knowledge of the local market are essential.

We deliver turnkey solutions through a highly efficient process from start to finish; from the acquisition of the necessary permits, through construction to monitoring of a fully operational PV installation. We also deliver tailored solutions, we select and deploy the solar technology that best suits our customers’ needs. Extensive knowledge of the latest technologies and solutions means we can offer the best proposal in terms of design, contruction and development. We have a fully trained, highly qualified team of solar professionals committed to deliverying the best solution. We also tout our wealth of practical, global experience combined with a local approach. These factors make us a dependable and knowledgeable solar partner.

 

Whats next at Enfinity as you strive to improve your expertise and move solar energy into mainstream?

We want to start focusing on areas where grid parity has been achieved or is very imminent. Once grid parity becomes mainstream, the solar market will become mainstream and one of the standard technologies to produce electricity.

 

What is your 2010 turnover and what do you think has contributed to that number? How much growth do you expect for the next year?

Turnover in 2009: 252 million euros. We expect further growth in 2010, commensurate with the growth of the sector in the countries where we are present. It is our goal to continue expansion and defend our market position.

 

Please introduce your management philosophy that you have been pursuing.

We are a high-growth company, which requires a lot of informal decision-making and quick decision-making. The entrepreneurial spirit is the engine of our growth. With expansion comes increased size and geographical dispersion. This requires continued building of the backbone of our organization, building structure and processes commensurate with the size of the company.

 

Which country/region is the biggest market for Enfinity?

Home market Belgium is today our biggest market but it will soon be surpassed by other countries/states in Europe. We expect Asia and the U.S. to significantly contribute to our growth in the years to come.

 

As a company headquartered in Belgium, what are your expectations for the development of the PV market in Belgium in 2011?

We are reviewing this at this exact moment. Flemish government decided two weeks ago to change the subvention system. Installations below 1 MWp will still have a future in Flanders, this is also our core business in Belgium. For installations above 1 MWp, it will become difficult.

 

How do you see the Asian PV market? Could you introduce your plans to target the Asian PV market including a partnership strategy?

The Asian PV market is at its infancy. We expect a similar growth as we have seen in Europe. Also, in some countries, especially remote with an island structure, grid parity is nearby or already there. This will make the growth and evolution of the market very sustainable.

Generally we target each Asian country in a Joint Venture structure with local partners. We bring the technology, financing capacity and balance sheet, while our partners bring the local relationship and the development deals.

 

Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to swied@infothe.com.

 

 

For more information, please send your e-mails to pved@infothe.com.

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