Prodiel has been operating in the PV sector since 1994, in the early stages of development for solar energy. How has the company most changed since then?
Solar technology has advanced significantly, and the capex of the technology has changed a lot since we got started. In terms of scope, a 2 MW project was a big project in 2005. Today, our projects could be 100 MW and up. Most changes for our company from early-on projects have been in the logistics and the engineering.
Prodiel has continued to expand outside of Spain, with subsidiary locations in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Morocco, Kuwait, Guatemala, and Argentina. Can you talk more about your expansion in Africa?
We are all over Africa looking for opportunity. Prodiel is a company focused on large utility-scale projects – we are not doing projects below 15 or 25 MW. Right now, we are looking at Ethiopia with upcoming tenders. Senegal is always the hope, but the market hasn’t taken off yet. The Middle East is now proving to be a core market for us. With significant tendering in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait, we are putting a lot of focus on these markets.
Are Latin America and Spain still the most important markets? What is next for continued expansion?
In terms of sales, yes. Spain is a market that is booming with large-scale projects, which is very exciting. For the next five years, we foresee five gigawatts being installed each year. Italy is also very promising right now. In Latin America, Mexico is significant, and accounted for about 40% of our sales last year. While things have changed, we believe that in the mid-term Mexico will be still be a strong market for us. Over the next two years, we still expect Chile to grow as well. While the Middle East will not be similar in terms of the sales that will be seeing in LatAm and Europe, we are very focused on the region. Australia will also soon be a new market where we will be actively working with industry partners.
Planning and building a large-scale solar plant is becoming an increasingly challenging business. How has your company continued to succeed through market challenges?
Prodiel has continuously focused on growing and expanding our internal expertise across all departments, from our engineering to tendering. Right now, we are staying on the cutting-edge of machine learning and digital technologies. We have remained at the forefront of technologies and markets, and then of course, maintain close partnerships with suppliers.
Can you speak to the level that your network of partners plays to ensure the bankability of a project?
This is definitely one of the main strengths of Prodiel. From 2008 to 2019, this industry has grown enormously, and our company has grown with the technology. We have long established, strong partnerships with the main equipment suppliers and industry stakeholders. It is crucial to work in collaboration with other partners and vendors to have the best equipment offering for investors. From concept to completion, projects create a long-term collaborative relationship that exists well after the installation is complete. We all have to work together as members of a team in order to develop excellent work.
How much does Prodiel rely on string inverters for your utility-scale PV plants?
We typically use string inverters for project plants with unique characteristics or challenging installation requirements. In previous years, we have installed more than 200 MW of PV projects using string inverters. In our pipeline, we have more than 300 MW of project capacity planned [utilizing] string inverters. We specify Huawei for string inverter projects.
What advantages has Prodiel found in using Huawei string inverters? In which markets are they used?
The main advantage is the production. Their reliability and strong performance in intense and unique environments has been extremely beneficial. We use Huawei inverters a lot in high desert areas. Having the ability to easily change the inverter if it is broken increases the reliability of the plant enormously. We have used Huawei inverters in Spain, the Middle East, and now Mexico. I think that the market will strengthen in coming years, and a higher percentage of projects will use string inverters. It’s all about bankability, and string inverters are here to stay.
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