Fotowatio joins forces with BP in solar energy to compete in Australia

Fotowatio joins forces with BP in solar energy to compete in Australia

Fotowatio and BP Solar are bidding together in Australia for a solar energy contract valued at 1,500 million Australian dollars (approximately 1,066 million euros). The Government has pre-selected eight bids, which also include the bid by another Spanish company: Acciona.

In the first round, 400 MW will be distributed between the two solar technologies

The Australian government has pre-selected BP Solar and Fotowatio among the bids that will compete for the first round of the Australian “Solar Flagship” solar energy tender process. According to figures obtained from the Department of Energy of the Australian government, the companies are bidding for the construction of a 150-megawwat (MW) photovoltaic solar plant in the Tablelands region. Sources close to the operation estimate that the necessary investment will be between 450 and 500 million euros.

The Solar Flagship contract is part of the Australian government’s initiative to promote clean energy, and has a budget of 4,500 million Australian dollars (3,200 million euros approximately). "To accelerate the marketing of the energy, the Government has committed 1,500 million Australian dollars (1,066 million euros) to support the construction of up to four large-scale solar plants, using thermoelectric and photovoltaic technologies ", as can been seen from the tender process figures. The Australian government aims to construct a total of 1000 MW in solar plants, which will be distributed in two rounds.

In this first round, 400 MW will be assigned between the two technologies. "The successful bidders may build thermosolar plants, although they must be in a single location to take advantage of economies of scale, while in the case of the photovoltaic plants, they may divided into up to five locations, with a minimum installed capacity of 30 MW each", according to the notice inviting tenders.

Eight consortia have passed this first cut, including Acciona. The company, which reported that it had been pre-selected last May, intends to build 200 MW in thermoelectric solar energy using parabolic cylinder technology, the same technology it already uses in its Spanish plant in Alvarado. Based on Spanish prices for the installation of thermosolar plants, the investment necessary to implement Acciona’s intention would be 1,200 million. The company has joined forces with Mitsubishi and the Australian companies BMD and GHD to present its bid.

The Spanish company already has 258 MW in eolic energy in Australia and is developing 46.5MW more of this same renewable technology.

The direct competitors of the Spanish companies are: the consortium made up of the Australian companies AGL, Bovis Lend Lease and the US manufacturer of modules First Solar, which hope to gain 200MW in photovoltaic; the Australian alliance Solar Flair, led by Parsons Brinckerhoff with the participation of Siemens, several local builders and operators and two universities, which seeks 150MW in thermoelectric energy; the Transfield consortium which is bidding for another 150 MW in thermosolar; the group led by Wind Prospect CWP, involving CS Energy, Areva Solar and the Australian company Mitsui, which will try to win 250 MW in thermoelectric energy; Infigen and Suntech, which seek between 150 and 195MW in photovoltaic and, finally, Truenergy, with a bid for 180 MW.

International diversification in the USA and Italy
According to the company’s figures, Fotowatio has "more than 200 megawatts (MW) of installed power in operation and under construction, and a portfolio of more than 1,500 MW under development in Europe and the USA, using photovoltaic and thermoelectric technology”. In Spain, it has 124 MW, of which 14 MW is under construction.
The purchase in 2009 of the assets of MMA Renewable Ventures provided the company with an installed capacity in the USA of 35 MW and enabled it to strengthen its position in that country. It currently has photovoltaic facilities with a total power of 37.93 MW (36.77 MW in operation and 1.16 MW under construction) and approximately 400 MW at different phases of development.
In Italy, the company has five MW built in the province of Puglia, representing an investment of 24 million euros, and more than 250 MW under development.

The main shareholders of Fotowatio include Qualitas Venture Capital (QVC), the investment vehicle of the Timón group which specializes in investment in developing countries in different sectors; EFS Solar Spain, a subsidiary of General Electric Energy Financial Services; the Landon corporate group, the investment vehicle of the Gallardo family, shareholders in Laboratorios Almirall; and the company’s founding and managing group.