1. What is the most ambitious solar photovoltaic project that Bester has made?
Probably Istres, because of the difficulty of raising the structure of greenhouses with the photovoltaic generator, with a few very tight deadlines. Lift 100,000 m2 of greenhouses with photovoltaic roof in 3 months, including the Christmas period, is not within the reach of everyone.
2. What services does Bester offer regarding photovoltaic energy?
We offer turn-key (EPC) for any type of photovoltaic installation: engineering, project management and construction, as well as its subsequent Operation and Maintenance. The line of business EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) was the flagship of Bester, but for the past 3 years, we have also relied on a strong Project Development Department, called Progressum, with more than 1000 MW photovoltaic in very advanced phases of development, many of them projects “ready-to-build”. Thus, we currently offer a complete service to the customer, the investor, guaranteeing the profitability of the projects that we offer, build, and maintain.
3. Why choose this type of energy versus other renewables?
Because of its simplicity, performance, and because it uses a resource that is guaranteed, since the sun never ends. Even on cloudy days, the photovoltaic panels generate electricity. Anyway, Bester has mainly executed projects for photovoltaic solar energy, but also has installed wind farms, and is also engaged in the development, EPC and O&M of biomass plants; Bester is currently building two biomass plants in the United Kingdom, totaling 10 MW.
4. What new photovoltaic projects does Bester have?
I previously mentioned that we currently have more than 1000 MW photovoltaic development in Mexico, that we will begin to build in 2017. In addition, we are working in the initial engineering of facilities planned in the Middle East.
5. What maintenance is provided by Bester for the solar photovoltaic plants?
Our goal is to maximize the productivity of plants, since their incomes are which will give an index of total profitability. Our service or&M service is all inclusive. The technical monitoring includes O&M predictive (procedures, performance analysis, thermographic studies, etc.), preventive (cleaning, substitutions, etc.) and corrective (repair minimizing energy losses and damage to other computers).
And other services such as monitoring, insurance, etc. The approach to the O&M must be preventive, with corrective actions only on occasions certain problems from the intervention of atmospheric agents (humidity, wind, precipitation, lightning, etc.), as components in its final stage, manufacturing defects unknown previously, etc. We have had the preventive approach into account in the design of the plant, when it comes to fueling components, to demand guarantees from teams, on receiving them, or all the insurance of the plant.
This approach mentioned above, the monitoring of the plants from a control room with all plants that Bester operates worldwide, the short response times “on site” and from the Control Center, the weekly and monthly reporting, the guarantees that we offer customers and proven experience place us as an international reference for O&M of solar photovoltaic plants.
6. How many employees form part of the Bester O&M team, and from where do they manage the solar plant incidents?
Currently the O&M staff is made up of about 25 of our own people who rely on numerous local subcontractors monitored by the Country Manager. Management is centralized in the Operation and Maintenance Department located at the central offices of Seville, where the Control room is located, although Latin America projects are managed from Mexico City, mainly because of the hour change.
7. Is the installation of photovoltaic panels a big investment for companies?
At the prices that the market currently, the installation of solar panels is more than attractive. Photovoltaic panels had a very high price, but it has dropped so much that solar power can already be equated with other more affordable. Prices will continue to decline, so continue to increase and promoting its use on a large scale.
8. What opinion you have regarding the use of solar PV panels for self-consumption in homes?
It is highly recommended even in areas where radiation is not very high, since it is a source of energy that is suited to all kinds of consumption, including domestic consumption. Is a great step to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, and it is available to us. A considerable amount of the population would want to install some type of renewable self-consumption device, and only legal framework is need that does not penalize the use of non-contaminant energy sources, something that I hope will improve in short term in Spain.
9. On average, how long does it take to install a PV plant?
It depends on the type of installation and size, but two weeks would be needed for 100KW. A residential installation of 5 KW can be done in a day.
10. What needs to be improved in Spain regarding photovoltaic solar energy?
A regulatory framework, and that the authorities understand that Spain has a huge and free energy resource that we should not penalize for maintaining the profits of large electric companies.