The Spanish Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, has insisted on the commitment of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) with renewables during a visit to the production centers of PV Hardware (PVH) and Energy Storage Solutions (E22) in Valencia. Aagesen was accompanied by Empar Martínez, Secretary for Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Trade and Consumption of the Generalitat Valenciana, and by the Government subdelegate in the province of Valencia, Raquel Ibáñez. The visit was an opportunity for the authorities to see first-hand the advances in production, innovation and research of Gransolar Group through both companies, and its contribution to the promotion of solar photovoltaic energy and energy storage.
MITECO’s commitment to the renewable energy industry
Sara Aagesen’s visit to Gransolar preceded her attendance to the Energy Revolution congress on renewable energies, organized by the Valencian Association of Energy Sector Companies (AVAESEN). Aagesen insisted in her speech that MITECO is aware that we are at a time of change in the energy system, which must be fostered by promoting its own value chain. The congress was also attended by Ximo Puig, president of the Valencian Community, who had also visited the PVH factory in Cheste a few days earlier, where he expressed the Valencian government’s unconditional commitment to renewables.
After getting to know the E22 and PVH factories, and the potential of Gransolar as an integrated solar platform, Sara Aagesen insisted on MITECO’s constant willingness to listen to the companies in the sector with the aim of improving the results of the PERTE for Renewable Energies, Renewable Hydrogen and Storage (PERTE ERHA), and to promote its role in Spain’s potential as a driver of energy change. Aagesen also assured that “the Ministry maintains an intense dialogue with the renewables sector to join forces and achieve the maximum results from the aid granted within the framework of the Recovery Plan and, specifically, from PERTE ERHA, focused on developing national technology and industrial capacities that will allow us to remain at the world forefront of clean energy and generate economic activity and employment while preserving the environment”.
Luis Marquina, Director of Institutional Relations of Gransolar Group, commented that “we are delighted to be able to transmit to the administrations the keys to the aids necessary for the development of new technologies in the case of storage or for the consolidation of our industrial fabric in the case of PVH. We are facing a critical moment, in which public-private dialogue is more necessary and effective than ever. This is what we at Gransolar have conveyed and we are very pleased to see that this vision is shared by the Ministry and the regional Governments”.
Storage, key to the success of renewables
Storage has become the key to driving the energy transition. Although it is undergoing enormous growth, there are still aspects to be improved for its final penetration, such as the need to create a productive fabric at European level that allows for competitive batteries in terms of technology and cost.
During her tour of the E22 factory – Gransolar’s storage division – the Secretary of State showed interest in vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) technology. Two units are currently being prepared. One is destined for the Geobatt project, a geothermal installation at the Moncloa transport hub in Madrid. The second is getting ready to travel to Morocco as part of the Vanabat project, which will investigate the behavior of vanadium in extreme temperatures. These two initiatives are financed by the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation and by European funds.
“The take-off of storage technologies which cannot compete commercially in the market today needs public support that is oriented in the right direction,” said Jaime Vega, General Manager of E22. “Our work at E22 is to support the development of innovative products and, as far as possible, to guide the Administration in the direction that public aid should take so that it promotes a real European industrial fabric that is solid, sustainable over time and highly competitive”.
PVH, world leader in the solar industry
Later, the delegation proceeded to the Cheste facilities of PVH, the third largest solar tracker manufacturer in the world, and one of the industries with the highest export volume in the Valencian Community. The company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Emilio García, shared with the representatives of the Ministry and the Generalitat the enormous growth expectations for this year. The objective is to exceed 800 million euros in turnover and to continue the expansion of the facilities in Cheste to meet the new manufacturing challenges. In order to achieve the success of this operation, the support of public administrations will be crucial.
“Spanish companies, in an environment of healthy competition, have proven to be world leaders in their respective sectors. This has been demonstrated by PVH, with a 10% share of the world market in the manufacture of solar trackers. In this scenario, we need the European authorities to become aware of how important it is to defend our industry, as the rest of the world’s markets (United States, Middle East or Latin America) are already doing. Any policy in this sense that allows us to compete on a level playing field will undoubtedly be welcome”, concluded García.