Gransolar Group is a group of vertically integrated companies specialised in solar photovoltaic energy and battery storage systems. With more than 15 years’ experience and covering all the fields in the solar photovoltaic and storage value chain, it can provide a faster one-stop–shop service for its customers, while being cost competitive and assuring maximum quality. Gransolar Group has supplied and executed almost 300 projects in five continents, with a total production of around 3000MW. Just a few months ago they opened their first permanent office in London, and in March they finally installed their first modules on British soil.
Matt Denyer, the company’s Commercial Director in UK and Ireland, shares his impressions on these first few months in Gransolar Group’s British trajectory.
What role does Gransolar Group play in the UK?
This is our first office in the UK, but we are not newcomers. For several years we have been engaging with UK based investors on projects across continental Europe and further afield. In 2020 we completed construction on our first UK project, the 15MWh battery system for FRV/Harmony at Holes Bay in Poole, Dorset, and since then we have been carrying out the O&M for that plant.
Last year we broke ground on our first UK solar plant, the 71MWdc Larks Green project near Bristol for Cero Generation, that we expect will reach COD this summer. We have an ambitious development plan for the UK and Ireland, and we have been working hard over the past year with our partners and collaborators to close the next EPC contracts for solar and battery storage projects.
Gransolar Group’s added value
What is Gransolar Group’s differentiating factor in the photovoltaic industry and what added value does it have over its competitors?
What really differentiates Gransolar as a turn-key contractor for solar and battery storage projects is the fact that we are vertically integrated across so much of the value chain, and that gives us control over the delivery of projects, the costs and the quality. Our SCADA and tracking system company is the third largest substructure and tracker company globally and will deliver over 10GW of trackers this year. We have in-house development capabilities, so we understand how projects are initiated and grow, and the challenges that investors face when they acquire projects from third parties prior to ready-to-build, or do the greenfield development themselves.
We have a very strong engineering office that can provide support in terms of value engineering and design optimisation to ensure that the plant is producing the maximum energy possible. Lastly, we have very experienced construction teams with 3GWs of solar projects under their belts, that can build the plants as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
If you add all the additional in-house services and products that we provide from SCADA systems and controllers, to commissioning teams and operation and maintenance and battery design and supply, I think you have a winning formula.
How do you see the solar market in the UK?
We see a strong commitment to solar power in the UK with multiple GWs of projects being built-out over the next 10-15 years to meet the energy transition and carbon net-zero objectives. Right now there are a lot of challenges from the EPCs perspective for solar projects due to pressure on the supply chains, price rises across the board that are impacting CAPEX costs, and HR constraints. In an environment with a limit solar resource, we are seeing some solar project struggling to be viable in the short term.
Nevertheless, the installed solar capacity is still increasing strongly, and coupled with the 10s of GWs of on and offshore wind that will come on-line in the coming years the need and the opportunities for battery projects is very clear. For Gransolar Group´s strategy it is vital to be in both the solar and battery storage businesses in the UK.
Gransolar Group’s project in the UK
Why open an office in the UK in this moment?
The UK has some of the most ambitious carbon net-zero objectives in Europe and the world, and that is translating into huge growth in wind but also solar projects. At the same time the UK is at the leading edge in terms of the integration of battery storage capacity into the electricity network so there any many opportunities for both solar and battery storage projects, not to mention hybrid solar-plus-storage plants.
At Gransolar Group we are very cautious when we move into a new market, but we believe that the UK and Ireland present long-term sustained opportunities for our business. Lastly, the UK and particularly London have very strong business and investment ties with Australia and the US, two of our biggest markets, not to mention with continental Europe.
What are Gransolar’s objectives in the UK?
The most important aspect of the UK office is to be close to our customers and support them as much as we can with local resources and capabilities. We are working with a small group of very high-quality customers and they need to know that we are in this market with them and on top of all the issues and challenges on a daily basis.
We have a 3 to 5-year plan that we are working towards. Our first objective is to consolidate our position and reputation as an EPC contractor for solar and battery storage projects, and the best way to do that is obviously to win and then build out high quality plants. That is what we are focussing on right now. Once we have achieved that let´s see.