21 January 2007


Interview with Carlos Huélamo; CEO Enerpal Tarragona

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us some more about your personal background?
My name is Carlos Huélamo and I am the CEO of ENERPAL TARRAGONA, where Javier García works as Technician-Seller. I studied Superior Mining Engineering in Madrid (UPM) and obatained a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. I worked for Repsol, Spanish Oil Company for 10 years and later I did a course in Renewable Energies with the UK Open University. Since 2004, I have been working in Enerpal. My main career interests are in Renewable Energies.

Please introduce your company, tell us briefly about its history, main activities and key products.
Enerpal Tarragona belongs to Enerpal Group, a Spanish company with 9 years experience and now with 50 branches all over Spain. Its main activity is planning, installing and selling Solar and Wind Power plants. The majority of projects relate to solar thermal and solar photovoltaic Installations both for remote power and grid-connected PV systems.

What are the ambitions of your company for the coming 3 years in terms of markets and volumes?
Our main ambitions are developing PV Solar Parks consisting in a series of large scale grid-connected plants covering areas of appropriated land. Currently we are developing a small 350 kW Solar Park in Reus (10 km from Tarragona City). Our expectations are good regarding this product and we will develop a bigger PV Solar Park soon, although it is difficult to forecast the exact amount in terms of kW installed as it will also depend on the number of consumers we can achieve.

What is your opinion about the current PV market situation in your country?
The PV market is clearly increasing in Spain, thanks to the subsidized tariff to be paid to the PV Electrical Energy Producers by law. On the other hand there is still a lot to be done regarding paperwork, standards and regulations that affect the development of this PV generation industry. Currently official authorizations for this kind of project are much too locally dependent (municipal level) instead of having agile and resolute national level procedures.

If you were looking for international cooperation, which kinds of business partners would you be specially interested in?
Partners interested in participating in this Solar Park projects as final costumer themselves, consumer searchers or any kind of financial participation. If any other particular country is also pushing for the PV grid-connected business, possible partners could be local searchers for land areas with possibility of Grid Power Evacuation and also searching for final consumers (installation owners).

Which issues or developments are you specially interested in?
As a Manager and from the business point of view mainly in PV grid-connected installations. From my particular or personal interest I would also like to be involved somehow in all kinds of renewable energy projects, especially for developing countries.

What will help your company grow even faster?
Developing the maximum possible amount of Solar Parks in a short period.

What market development has surprised you the most in recent years?
The huge demand for PV solar modules

What do you see as the major challenges in the PV market?
PV modules manufacturing cost reduction, improvement of efficiency of PV cells and, especially, changing the attitude and habits of citizens with regard to the convenience of using energy from PV power plants.

What do you consider as the biggest failures or mistakes made in the solar industry?
Allowing very little expertise and specialization among the installers, especially in earlier installations. This gave solar energy a very bad reputation as failures happened very often (at least here in Spain). Also a lot more education and instruction is needed for the general public, as they have to become the final users and consumers of this type of energy and installation. Of course, pointing strongly to the environmental benefit of this energy.

What are your expectations for the global PV market in the next 5 years?
My expectations for the PV market are great. As general public opinion becomes more aware of the necessity for the important change from fossil fuels to renewables, there will be a huge demand for PV energy in the short to medium term. We are currently in the primary phase but there are clear signs of development.

What do you consider to be winning companies and technologies for the future?
Probably the ones capable of providing a renewable solution for each particular case. I believe that there is a tendency for energy generation to be more decentralised than it is now. In future, micro power generation located practically at the point of consumption will be the most suitable. I also believe that hydrogen is the best candidate in the long term for replacing fossil fuels. Hydrogen production from renewable energy sources is by far the best possible scenario.

Thank you for the interview.

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