January 25, 2019 / 10:44 AM / in 24 days

Scatec Solar expects more deals with corporate power buyers in 2019

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Scatec Solar expects to sign several deals to supply corporate clients this year as the price of its solar power becomes more competitive, the chief executive said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Norwegian solar panel maker Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen poses for a photo in Oslo, Norway September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/File Photo

Scatec Solar, which aims to operate 3.5 gigawatt (GW) of capacity around the world by the end of 2021, said it was in talks on several potential deals to supply between 50 megawatts (MW) and 200 MW, similar to the scale of contracts with utilities.

“We expect 2019 to be a breakthrough for corporate power purchase agreements,” Chief Executive Raymond Carlsen told a news conference.

Despite the size of the potential deals, corporate buyers would likely seek shorter terms than the 20 to 25-year contracts typically agreed with public utilities, he said.

The company said costs of the unit over the lifetime of a generating asset, known as “levelised costs”, had fallen by 83 percent since 2010, making solar more competitive.

“The costs of power produced from solar is at or below the level of energy from other types of sources. If you can offer the lowest prices, people are not going to overlook it, they will be interested,” Carlsen told Reuters.

Scatec has 584 MW of installed capacity and 1.1 GW under construction, including a 400 MW solar plant in Egypt. It expects to reach 3.5 GW by 2021, while its total pipeline of new projects due to become operational by 2021 and beyond now stands at 4.5 GW.

Carlsen said he had particular ambitions in South Africa, which will soon unveil a new energy plan. Asian countries, such as Vietnam, were also expected to boost renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, he said.

Carlsen said the company was looking at more projects where it would cooperate with Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor, which is seeking to expand its renewable business and has taken a 10 percent stake in Scatec.

The two firms are already working together to develop solar power plants in Brazil and Argentina.

“We are in a very strong growth mode,” Carlsen said, adding that Scatec expected total proportionate power production to rise to 575-625 GWh in 2019 from 318 GWh in 2018.

The proportionate production numbers are based on Scatec’s economic interest in subsidiaries.

The company’s consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 257 million Norwegian crowns ($30 million) in the fourth quarter from 207 million a year ago.

Scatec’s shares rose 9.4 percent in early trade to an all-time high of 82.9 Norwegian crowns.

China’s GCL System Integration Technology Co, one of the world’s top solar panel manufacturers, said this week that the solar power industry was about to lose a major competitive windfall as prices of Chinese-made panels begin to recover after a collapse last year.

($1 = 8.5690 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Edmund Blair

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