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Making PV as Cost-Efficient as Fossil-Fuel Fired Plants

T-Solar is a company who focuses its activity on the design, development, commissioning, operation of large-size photovoltaic power farms and state-of-the-art thin-film silicon modules.
This process consumes less power and uses approximately fifty times less raw materials than other photovoltaic technologies. Juan Laso, Founder and Managing Director of T-Solar, told how they actively contribute to the reduction of costs in the generation of power using photovoltaic solar energy. Its objective is to make PV plants as cost-efficient as fossil-fuel fired plants.

Reported by Stella Y. Lee (pved1@infothe.com)

 

 

Could you give us a brief explanation of T-Solar and yourself?

T-Solar is a major independent producer of photovoltaic solar energy worldwide. A subsidiary of the Isolux Corsan Group, with 173 MWp installed capacity in 43 plants located in Spain, Italy and India, plus a further 55 MW under construction in India and Peru. These solar photovoltaic plants generate about 250 GWh a year. This is that it’s equivalent to the average electricity consumption of a town with 55,000 households.

Its factory in Orense, Spain, produces the largest PV modules in the market (5.7m2) using amorphous hydrogenated silicon thin-film technology to reduce costs and boost performance ratios. The factory is fully automated and fitted out with leading-edge technology. It has an output capacity of 60 MW a year, equivalent to 750,000 m2 of solar panels. T-Solar earned revenues of €125 m in 2011. The company’s 2011 business plan had a total CAPEX of €1.2 bn.

I’ve been working as Industrial Engineer for T-Solar. I graduated from Vigo University and began my career in the automotive industry, holding various senior management positions in Citroen Hispania (PSA). In 1998, I moved into the telecommunications industry, jointly founding Comunitel Global SA. In 2006, I was Joint Founder and Chief Executive of T-Solar. My involvement in this project has been parallel to my presidency of the Photovoltaic Business Association (AEF).

 

The photovoltaic power plants under T-Solar management have generated a total of 245 GWh in 2011 and the company has been one of the biggest receivers of Spain’s solar subsidies. The Spanish government’s plans to reduce subsidies for solar power may curb your profit? (If not, how?)

Subsidies in Spain have been reduced over 3 years, but this reduction has been offset by five years more feed-in tariffs, to help adjust the costs within the Spanish electricity system. The SPV contribution to the mix has been the highest in the sector, and we do not expect further cutbacks other than a possible revision of cuts that have already been made.

 

Are you also aiming to increase the revenue by investing in Brazil, India or other countries outside Europe?

Yes, currently T-Solar has 43 plants located in Spain (34), Italy (8) and India (1), plus 55 MW under construction in India and Peru. Our goal is to continue increasing our capacity abroad.

The company currently has a pipeline of more than 500 MWp distributed over all its target countries. These include Italy, as well as India, the United States, South America and South Africa.

 

We heard the news State Bank of India, a government trade bank, will extend a record 14-year loan to T-Solar. It’s a breakthrough because the banks fear about issuing loans for solar projects on concerns that the technology may not perform as expected and that developers may not get paid by financially troubled state electricity distributors. Do you have any know-how to solve the financial problems overseas?

Absolutely. T-Solar is a major leading PV company. Indeed, T-Solar has proven its expertise in structuring project finance. It has won two awards from the Euro money Magazine, one for our project finance in Spain (2008) and Peru (2011).

 

Isolux Corsan SA announced to take control of T-Solar and integrate it into a newly created infrastructure company with US$ 10.6 billion of investments.

It is advancing according to what was expected. Isolux Corsan is a strong leading-edge company with a large and growing international footprint and a great reputation.

 

What are some of the changes you’ve seen recently in the PV industry worldwide?

I have noticed new opportunities and new markets in places such as India, South Africa, Latin America and Australia. But meanwhile, traditional international markets, such as Japan, the United States and Germany continue to encourage strategic investment in this technology.

 

Compared with 2011, do you expect growth in the global market volume of PV power?

Even through in some places renewable energy regulation has changed, T-Solar still believes that we will continue to grow in different countries with support from the authorities. We should also add that we have improved the efficiency of our technology by reducing costs.

 

Stella Y. Lee is Editor of InterPV. Send your comments to pved1@infothe.com.

 

 

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

2011 www.interpv.net All rights reserved.

 
 

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