Energy Solutions Center wants to take the lead in the transition to sustainable energy. But we also realize that ‘sustainable’ will only be realistic when these solutions compete with traditional systems, both in terms of reliability and cost efficiency. That time is now. And so, with modest pride, we introduce our hybrid energy solutions.
“The strategic choice for hybrid, has to do in part with the decreasing price of solar panels,” explains Topec Managing Director Halvor Sens. “Solar panels combine low maintenance with a very long economic life. And, yes, you have to maintain the inverters and there’s the higher upfront investment, but total cost of ownership has come down considerably. With some clever engineering – our forte – they come close to the kilowatt price of non-sustainable sources. And you earn money back every year.”
“The payback period is already much shorter than it was just five years ago,” adds Manager Operations Joris IJzermans. “The price per peak Watt of solar panels has been coming down since 2012. This will only continue and we expect that by 2020, the price will be just half of what it was in 2012. There have also been incredible improvements in the state of commercially available battery technology. These coinciding developments are the driving force behind the sustainable energy market, because it’s one thing to subscribe to eco-friendly entrepreneurship in theory, but it won’t happen if it hurts financially. At ESC we want to help organizations make the transition to renewable energy, with a dual focus on sustainability and cost efficiency.”
Africa in the lead
Hybrid energy solutions are relevant in the European market, but Halvor expects the renewable revolution will start in Africa. “The power supply can be instable in parts of Africa, and many regions are still completely off the grid. A lot of times there won’t be a business case for constructing a large power plant and the accompanying infrastructure. But a hybrid energy system, something that generates electricity locally, could make fantastic business sense. I believe we’re on the cusp of major developments in several African nations, and that the changes can transpire so rapidly that there will be a leap frog effect: these countries won’t transition from conventional to sustainable at all, they’ll start out with hybrid solutions.”
Sneak preview: PPA
Joris is eager to counsel companies on hybrid solutions. “We see that when businesses consider going green, they can be held back by unfounded concerns about the financial viability or the technical impact. We want to talk with these businesses and show them the potential of hybrid solutions. Our Homer software tool can run the numbers and instantly paint the financial picture for their specific organization. We’re currently studying how we can facilitate customers in practical ways too. For example with power purchase agreements, a finance model in which we make the required investment and charge customers a fixed price per kilowatt hour.” Halvor: “But more about that in our next installment!”
Energy Solutions Center