The Business Year

With entire new urban markets coming into play, the declining cost of solar installations, combined with the persistently high costs of fossil fuels in certain regions, are coming together to make solar a far-more attractive option.

Julian Willenbrock

Founder & CEO, Enlight

Solar is arriving at a rapid pace. For example, the market kicked off in 2018 with 60,000 contracts and by December had over 94,000. Taking into account the history of solar in Mexico, almost 40% of solar installations occurred in 2018. We are leading the pack in terms of interconnection contracts. Indeed, there has been tremendous growth. We started 2018 with less than 100 people on our team; now we are more than 200 in-country, and we have offices in Monterrey, Puebla, Querétaro, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara, and our headquarters in Mexico City. We have established a new office in Santiago, Chile, as well, marking the first step for our international expansion. Our business partners Engie and ALLVP also have a strong presence in Latam, which is something we will exploit to match their growth pace. Mexico is a huge country, with solar penetration at less than 1%. Within the solar industry there are different segments, including residential and C&I, commercial, and industrial. There has been considerable growth in the residential market for certain cities. It is expanding quickly, which has to do with the price drop in solar components, as well as the rise in energy prices. When we interconnected our first solar system in 2009, it was among the first 20 solar roofs in Mexico; now the market has more than 94,000 in place. At the beginning we had to evangelize everyone, from our customers to people working at the utility offices and explain how the interconnection procedure should happen. Today, we no longer need to.

Juan Pablo Millet

CEO, Habitec

The southeast of the country is particularly ripe for solar radiation. There is a particularly good level of energy gathering and, at the same time, there is a high cost of energy production in the region, fossil fuels included. Taken together, these factors have made Yucatán into a region with a high potential for installing solar power panels. All this means the commercial demand for solar panels is also high. We have been in this business for six years, and back when we began it was a new proposition, although much has changed today. The industrial area, in terms of return of investment, was looking at over 10 years for renewable sources. But since electricity costs have increased, investing in renewable sources has become more appealing for industries, not to mention the environmental dimension and the fact that it is widely believed to be a profitable investment. Our focus, when we started, was residential because it was a market niche. Quality is the core value for us, in the products we sell and the service we provide. We guarantee a 25-year lifetime for our panels. The industrial segment, meanwhile, was not very big at the beginning, but has grown steadily. In 2018, we installed panels for a German company enabling the generation of 500kW, and we have installed the same infrastructure for a second company, Grupo Logra.

Arnold Solis

Director, Arnold Solis

Our main strategy is to invest in infrastructure and have more products available for our customers. We increasingly need to have inventory available for the new larger-scale commercial and industrial projects SDE Mexico is focusing on. These projects might require a container load of equipment instantly, so we need more containers in reserve ready for distribution purposes. As such, the main part of our investment is opening new warehouses and having more inventory and engineering teams to lend support. Right now, we seek to expand into the northern part of Mexico, Tijuana, and possibly Hermosillo. We are not yet certain and are still looking at numbers. We are also looking to grow our presence in our current warehouse in Mérida. There is a great deal of potential there as the city itself is growing significantly, and it is a great idea to invest there. Overall, we like to consider ourselves as specialists in what we do and sell. One of our main competitive advantages is offering technical support and a warranty service directly with the company. One does not have to call someone in another country when dealing with our products; they can call someone locally who speaks their language, understands our products, and has experience installing them. Through the experience we have gained over the last 12 years of working in the solar industry, we have found it is extremely important to spread the word.



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