Solarpro SRL (Romania) is the Bucharest-based branch part of the Solarpro Group - an experienced technological leader in the renewable energy industry with a proven track record of more than 14 years on the PV market in Eastern and Western Europe. With projects in over 18 countries and more than 6 GWp in total, the company’s current main line of work is providing innovative PV solutions for turnkey EPC projects thanks to the extensive experience of their multinational teams and 3 engineering hubs.
Solarpro entered Romania in 2021 with its scope of work on the local market including mainly large-scale PV systems, self-consumption rooftops and ground-based PV systems. Ioan Barbulescu is Operational Manager for Romania.
Mr. Barbulescu, Solarpro has had operations in Romania for two years now. What were the main initial challenges you had to tackle?
Starting an operation in a new country always has its inherent challenges, from finding the right partners to navigating the dynamic legal landscape, which has undergone successive amendments in Romania over recent years.
Our clients, along with potential ones, have confronted hurdles in finalizing project permits and securing financing within their desired timelines. These circumstances have prompted us to frequently reassess our strategic planning and reprioritize our objectives.
The landscape further complicates when we encounter abrupt shifts in the type and magnitude of governmental support, which often cannot provide the long-term assurances required for price stability and procurement.
The issue of grid capacity volumes is also a major one - the expansion of the existing network by grid operators and transporters is a challenging task. However, the anticipated developments in the coming year are set to position Romania as a highly attractive destination for investment in renewable energy.
In the short term, Solarpro has demonstrated remarkable flexibility in terms of our service offering structure, pricing, and financing options. As a proactive company, we are dedicated to helping our clients find optimal solutions tailored to their unique business needs and activities.
Earlier in 2023, Solarpro Romania announced the signing of six EPC contracts. Can you give details about these projects and shed light on any other investment plans?
Indeed, we signed the EPC contracts for building six PV projects with a combined capacity of 35 MWp in Mureș County. The projects also have incorporated storage facilities behind the meter. Our dedicated team has already completed the design phase for two of these projects, and construction is scheduled to start in early September with our goal being to finalise all six projects during next year.
We have also signed the EPC and O&M agreements for a 40-MWp project in Arad and we are currently performing the design activities. The project is included in the PNRR financing program with European funds.
Looking ahead, we are strategically targeting large-scale projects for the upcoming years. The PPA business model has captured our attention, not only in Western Europe but also here in Romania.
Furthermore, we are actively expanding our project pipeline, engaging in advanced discussions for several promising ventures, so surely there will be more exciting news in the near future.
With such an intensive projects pipeline, do you plan further expansion of the operations, for example, in the workforce?
Romania is a strategic market for us, with many projects under development approaching the ready-to-built stage, we see a lot of opportunities both on the EPC and on the O&M side.
So we are indeed currently focused on expanding our operations here. We are currently in the process of relocating our offices to a larger and more accommodating space, while also expanding our local team. During this transitional phase, our primary focus lies in gradual growth, as we welcome new colleagues who can contribute to our team's success through their performance, competence, and creativity. Professional quality is the most important asset in satisfying the customer's needs.
We currently have several exciting job openings in Romania, and we anticipate additional opportunities in the near future, including positions such as Project Manager, Project Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Design Electrical Engineer, and Office Project Administrator.
Furthermore, we are pleased to announce that our group entity responsible for constructing photovoltaic parks has recently earned certification from the National Authority for Regulating the Energy Field, affirming our competence to undertake electrical works in this domain.