After building a number of photovoltaic solar facilities in Spain, the Spanish renewable energy company Solaer is now exploring several other sunny markets, including Israel. In fact, Solaer’s founder and CEO, Ignacio Arganza Alvaro, told the Israeli business newspaper Globes that his company hopes to achieve a 10% share of the Israeli market within five years.
“There’s huge potential here,” he explained during a recent visit. “Germany, the world’s largest solar energy market, is too competitive. France is interesting in terms of tariffs, but it is fairly limited. In contrast, Israel reminds me of Spain in 2005. Israel is at the same latitude as the Canary Islands, and the sun here produces 15% more than in Spain.”
Alvaro recalls his efforts to recruit business partners for solar energy facilities when he started the company in 2005: “No one at the time understood what we were talking about. You had to explain to landowners how photovoltaic technology worked and how silicon cells turn sunlight into electricity. We began recruiting photovoltaic engineers and other professionals in the field. I told them, ‘You don’t know what you have in your hands. This is gold, and we’re going to sell it like crazy’.”
Indeed, Solaer today boasts annual sales of €200 million. The company has set up an Israeli subsidiary and is involved in solar projects in India and Bulgaria.
What about the bureaucratic barriers in Israel?
“Your regulation is all right. You’re a fairly stable country. There’s a near perfect combination of sunlight, low rates, and regulatory stability, and most of all, available money.”
But most solar energy facilities in Spain are land-based, while Israel has yet to draft plans for such facilities.
“It’s true that the big money is in land, but we realize that it is difficult to build such facilities in Israel right now. We’re in no hurry. We’re starting small, we’ll move on to mid-sized, and then we’ll reach the big time.”
Read more on Green Prophet about PV in Israel: