The Era of Renewables is Here to Stay
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28 September, 2022

Sonnedix is a leading global Independent Power Producer (IPP) that is among the top five solar IPPs in Europe with a proven track record in delivering high-performance, cost-competitive solar photovoltaic plants.

Since its founding in 2009, Sonnedix continues to expand globally by developing, building, owning, and operating solar power plants, providing over 7GW of total capacity worldwide. Sonnedix currently has over 440 operational power plants, plus a development pipeline of over 5GW across nine countries in four continents including Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Spain, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.

With climate change being an urgent matter to address worldwide, renewable energy power producers are taking the necessary steps to move the economy away from fossil fuels. For Sonnedix, the vision as a company is that the expansion of renewable energy is essential to build a long-term bright future for generations to come, and it must be done responsibly and sustainably. Our projects produce clean electricity, capable of powering thousands of homes and avoiding the emission of over X tons of CO2 per year.

We spoke to Axel Thiemann, CEO of Sonnedix, to learn about current industry challenges, technologies, and his vision for the evolution of the company.

Question: How is the current situation with volatile energy prices and energy shortages impacting the move to clean energy?

What we have been seeing with the energy prices spiked, is that it is impacting the entire global community in terms of oil, gas, and coal by straining our natural resources. However, this presents an opportunity for green power producers like Sonnedix to lead in global efforts to decarbonize and meet the needs of consumers. A volatile market essentially leads to consumers to think and seek alternatives, including renewable energy.

Solar PV plants are quick to deploy - faster than any fossil fuel plant. In addition to the benefits of fighting climate changes, renewable energy can support energy independence and protect economies from geopolitical changes. At Sonnedix, we acknowledge the importance of this component, and we are working very hard to continue developing and building our pipeline to meet the consumer’s growing energy needs and contribute green, reliable, and affordable electricity.

Renewable energy is growing rapidly to become an important source of power in many regions and nations across the globe, especially here in Spain. Through means of education and expansion, we continue to promote to the communities we impact the benefits of electricity production from renewable energies.

Question: What is the importance of hybridization? How is Sonnedix incorporating this in their business models?

Renewable energy, wind, and solar alone are intermittent, but do not necessarily meet the energy needs faced around the world. However, by implementing the process of hybridization – the mixing of multiple renewable energy systems and energy storage technologies into a single plant – it could potentially help customers attain reliable, more efficient, and more affordable energy.

Hybridization has become a focus for us as we strive to become more customer-oriented in our business strategy. It does present opportunities, but it also has its challenges when it comes to the design, operation, policies, and regulation of energy markets, that our teams continue to do their research on to take a careful approach as well as exploring alternatives.

Question: What are some of those alternatives?

Digitization is one of the alternatives that helps us look at data to decide where we should invest, which technologies to use to improve plant performance, and the opportunity to control Transmission and Distribution (T&D) networks. Using digitization, we can support the hybridization process by automatically optimizing when and how much electricity we sell to maximize profits based on current and forecast electricity prices. We could also predict when certain failures might happen to solve the issue before it happens, hence operating our sites at higher efficiency as we continue to grow.

We are also looking into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which would be the bridge for both hybridization and digitalization processes. We are fortunate to have a team at Sonnedix that is dedicated to learning the benefits of AI and how we leverage it in our operations to benefit our processes, our teams, and yield extra profits. We are excited to see the initial results of a more effective way of working that translates in better productivity and thus becoming even more reliable to our customers. By implementing AI, we can begin having automated processes at our PV plants to handle repetitive tasks which in turn, allows our teams the flexibility to prioritize other responsibilities. AI can help us find patterns and irregularities in the way we work, so that we can implement those changes and become more efficient to meet the demands of consumers, which is crucial for us to explore as we continue to expand our portfolio and become more customer focused.

Question: How do you also prioritize sustainability needs?

Sonnedix has in place a strong ESG - environmental, social and governance strategy, which enables us to have a lasting impact on our communities, environment, and education. For the last four years, we have been named ESG Solar Power Generation Sector Leader by Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) - investor-driven organization that assesses the ESG performance of real assets globally. We protect, enhance and care for the environments where we build and operate our solar plants. We support the communities we work in with social and developmental activities, job opportunities and essential provisions. And we ensure our employees and partners are committed to integrity in action, fairness in conduct and respect for all, allowing us us to measure our impact against our commitments and truly hold ourselves accountable for our actions.

This year alone, we have globally executed more than 30 ESG activities, over 1500 removals of emissions of carbon dioxide, and have impacted over 110,000 learners ranging from young children to university students, by educating the problem-solvers of tomorrow in the fight against climate change.

But this wouldn’t be possible without our team members at Sonnedix, who are the most valued asset. We are in the business of people doing solar, and our investment to grow and develop our One Team is crucial for us to continue growing sustainably. We are driven by the potential of solar energy to transform lives, creating energy solutions that are healthy, and sustainable, for our people and our planet.

Find the article at El mundo ES.

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