- Activ Solar realized one of the world's largest solar power station ... in Ukraine.
- The company will maintain its focus on 'emerging solar markets', especially in the Central and Eastern Europe region.
- Read the exclusive interview with Dr. Harter, COO of Vienna based Activ Solar:
Dr. Harter: Activ Solar is an international, Vienna based, company focused on the development and manufacture of solar technology. The company focuses on two segments: the production of silicon products and the development of large-scale photovoltaic installations. PJSC Semiconductor Plant, based in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, is a subsidiary of Activ Solar with Polysilicon production history dating back to 1964. Activ Solar develops, finances and carries out large-scale solar energy projects combining its industry expertise, strategic partnerships with cutting edge technology.
Owing to the favourable business environment for the solar industry in Ukraine, Activ Solar currently focuses its operations on this country where it aims to develop further large-scale projects in the next couple of years. In addition, Activ Solar plans to develop large-scale solar PV parks in emerging solar markets with favourable government support and high solar irradiation.
Regarding the other end of the value chain, Activ Solar's polysilicon production currently has a capacity of 2,500 MT per year, but the factory still has room for a capacity increase if the global market demand increases. In the long-term, Activ Solar strives to become an integrated solar energy company and therefore has been investing in R&D and product innovation.
save-more-energy.com: Last year you realized in the Ukraine one of the world's largest solar power station, Ohotnikovo. Are you going to top it?
Dr. Harter: In 2011, Activ Solar built and connected to the grid three solar power stations in Crimea (Ukraine) including the 7,5 MW Rodnikovoye power Station, the 80 MW Ohotnikovo Power Station and the 100 MW Perovo Power Station. In 2012, Activ Solar plans to develop further large-scale solar projects in other areas in Ukraine.
save-more-energy.com: The Solar Sector is currently facing some challenges, especially the reduced incentives in several European countries. How is the situation in CEE?
Dr. Harter: We are active in Eastern Europe, because the traditional markets like Germany, Spain, France and Italy are already saturated markets and some Western European governments halted their subsidies for renewable projects. What is interesting about Ukraine actually, is its feed-in-tariff. In April 2009, the parliament passed a green tariff aimed to attract investment in the renewable energy sector and bring new green energy capacity. Several other countries in the region have introduced similar tariff-models, green certificates or at least are planning to do so.
save-more-energy.com: Austria has excellent business relations in the CEE region, for example the banking or real estate sector. Is this an advantage for Activ Solar?
Dr. Harter: Activ Solar is a global company - our shareholders and most of our business partners come from different parts of the world. Vienna is a good hub to coordinate our CEE activities with the international business community. It is not only about financing, but also about logistics and access to other relevant global hubs.
save-more-energy.com: Typical solar markets in Europe are generally in South and South East Europe. Why Ukraine and is there potential for more solar parks?
Dr. Harter: In general, we look at markets with a deficit of green energy production that provide at the same time high solar radiation levels and attractive long-term subsidies.
Ukraine has a big potential for renewable energy projects. The government has taken all necessary steps to attract investors to this sector by issuing regulations and subsidies that guarantee a favourable feed-in-tariff. Regarding radiation, Southern Ukraine has similar geographic conditions as the north and middle of Italy. Furthermore, there is plenty of space, which cannot be used for agriculture and is therefore suitable for large scale solar power plants. These are the main reasons why the southern regions of Ukraine will definitely maintain our core areas for solar park projects in 2012.
save-more-energy.com: How about roof top installations for example in commercial real estate projects? A market for Activ Solar?
Dr. Harter: At present time, Activ Solar has focused on the development of large-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic projects. As roof-tops provide only limited space for large-scale project development, there are no plans for such installations in the near future.
save-more-energy.com: Which markets in CEE/SEE will be next for Activ Solar?
Dr. Harter: The company will maintain its focus on 'emerging solar markets', especially in the Central and Eastern Europe region. Just recently the company opened up a representative office in Odessa to explore the potential for its solar park business in another promising Ukrainian region. But of course also other promising markets around the globe are currently on our radar screen.
Thank you very much!
Further information: www.activsolar.com
Renewable Energy Market in Ukraine: President Yanukovych is seeking alternatives to natural gas, the nation's biggest source of energy and the cause of price disputes with Russia's OAO Gazprom that has cut winter supplies twice since 2006. Ukraine gets about 40 percent of its energy from gas, 31 percent from coal and 17 percent from nuclear plants, according to statistics compiled by BP. Renewables accounted for less than 1 percent.