Antoine Mocachen and Stephane Rauber, Managing Partners of renewable energy producer Volta Polska have talked to Property Forum about the Polish market of ‘green energy’, the war-related energy crisis and their investment plans for the following quarters.
Volta Polska is a new player in the highly competitive Polish green energy market. What sets you apart from industry rivals?
The Polish market is indeed competitive, some players may consider it a sprint race. But I believe we just started a marathon, where quality, efficiency and financial solidity will be rewarded. Volta Groupe is an Independent Power Producer (IPP) with 100 MWp under operations, mainly in France. It took 10 years to develop such a capacity. We believe that Volta Polska will bring custom solutions to large corporate investors, which need On-site PV solutions and PPA opportunities. Not all companies are equipped to enter into large corporate tenders and negotiations.
You offer your services in two main model groups - 'Solar as a Service' and 'Corporate Power Purchase Agreement'. How do the two models differ?
We usually split models by the criteria of On-site and Off-site. To partially satisfy the On-site needs, mainly for the shopping malls, logistics, industrial plants etc., Volta Polska is proposing to invest in the roof, parking and available ground of the client. We invest and give the use of the PV installation to the client for his own consumption. Such a model is capex-free for the client. This model is commonly called Solar - or PV - as a Service.
If electricity consumption needs are more significant, Volta signs a corporate PPA with the client. In this model, we invest in large PV farms (Off-site) and produce large amounts of electricity, which is injected into the grid. Such deal secures the green origin and the MW/hour price for the client. We are prepared for all kinds of scenarios – whether the client has enough space for a proper PV plant or not.
Who are your customers? Which entities are you targeting?
Our solutions are aimed at all companies that want to effectively engage in the energy transition and secure decarbonized electricity production. We are committed to supporting and advising our clients in this process. As already said, we are prepared for all kinds of situations and conditions – we are able to invest in renewable energy production solutions at the customers’ location, or we can provide the supply of green energy from our own photovoltaic or wind farms and add some battery solutions.
We do believe it is highly interesting for retail, logistic and industrial facilities to consider PV, On-site and PPA solutions. For On-site, Volta Polska is currently working on some large shopping centre facilities, where PV installations on parking and roof may cover up to 25-30% of the yearly electricity consumption of the common areas.
The energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine has significantly increased interest in 'green energy' among developers and warehouse tenants. Are you also seeing this trend among your customers?
Of course, this energy crisis has accelerated the energy transition of developers, logistics operators and end customers. Even if the will is there, it is a challenge to coordinate all the actors of the green energy market like energy authorities, grid operators, local authorities, and financial partners, and that's why we are here.
What is the smallest roof area for a solar power plant to make such an investment worthwhile?
In our case, as an investor, we are interested in on-site installations of more than 500kWp or about 6000 sqm in Poland. We can invest in rooftop installations, but also on the ground and on parking lots.
Poland - like most countries in this part of Europe - is not a country with a large number of sunny days - the sun shines here on average for only 66 days a year. Why do you believe in our country?
Indeed, solar production in the north of Poland is 30% lower than in Romania. However, Poland's solar exposure is very similar to Germany and Holland, where operators had heavily invested in PV in the last few years. Let's not forget the Nordic countries. On the other hand, Poland's energy dependence on coal is very important and there is a real will of the authorities to accelerate the energy transition. Moreover, the economic development of the country will only increase the green energy needs.
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