An interview with Eugene Ladnych, a director of SolarUA.
Eugene, thank you for agreeing to answer our questions. First I would like to hear a few words about your company.
Good afternoon. Our company was established in 2007 to carry out projects in the field of alternative energy. Under the alternative energy in this case, we understand, first, power generation from renewable sources, and second, energy-efficient technologies. More specifically, we highlight the following areas of its activities: consulting support clients at all stages of implementation of products and solutions in the field of solar energy, implementation of solutions for integrated energy supply systems based on objects of solar and wind- solar hybrid electrical supply, the introduction of central heating and hot water supply based solar collectors, the introduction of modern energy-saving technologies.
Much demand your products and services in Ukraine? Are you planning to expand its presence in other countries?
If we talk about the direction of our consulting activities, we are working with corporate clients both in Ukraine and abroad. The specifics of this business is that such services can be claimed only where there are real projects and investors ready to finance them. It is obvious that in our country are very few such projects, so we just have to look for customers worldwide. We have good relations in many regions of the world, including Europe, USA and the Middle East. We have recently opened a small office in Sweden, as very upbeat on the prospects for cooperation with companies from the region.
And how do you assess the prospects of the domestic market of alternative energy?
It’s no secret that today’s market of «green» energy in Ukraine is in its infancy. I believe that, despite the current situation in this sphere — the domestic alternative energy has a great future. And for several reasons. Among these global trends to shift away from traditional sources of energy, a gradual adaptation of national legislation in order to promote the industry, the need to reduce our energy dependence on the state system and the pricing policy of neighboring countries, the availability of qualified personnel in Ukraine, etc. Could still be a long list arguments. But the main question — this is not a prospect or not, and then, when the domestic market of alternative energy is large enough.
And how do you assess these terms?
I think that really speak about the timing of at least 3-5 years. As an example I can give you a project to build a solar power plant, which we evaluated for a French developer. Only the preparatory part of the project, assuming the decision of some formal issues related to the allocation of land, obtaining permits for connection to the grid, as well as other legal decision moments will last at least one year. And this is only a preliminary stage. And still need to construct the power plant, make a test run and to enter into operation. To date, such projects in Ukraine. That is, taking into account the actual timing of — they can’t occur faster than over the next three years. And it provided that the projects will be started right now.
This is speaking about the industrial scale. But there is another scenario of solar energy, which involves the installation «on roof» systems on the roofs of private houses and even tall buildings. In addition, each generates «for own consumption», and the surplus in the overall network gives profitable tariff...
Yes, indeed, this is another scenario market solutions based on «solar» technology. But he, unlike the above, implies a high degree of public perception of green energy, as well as long-term government support. Moreover, not only on paper but in practice. This path has recently gaining popularity in many countries around the world. Hopefully, we also come to this in Ukraine.
What are the main difficulties in your opinion, are there for companies planning to conduct its business in this industry?
If you do not consider the risks that exist for any business in our country, the main difficulty I would call all the same issues related to financing. Lack of long-term financing of the western one hand, and focus the majority of domestic investors in high profitability and rapid return on projects with other, these are the factors that hinder the development of alternative energy. This industry is no different today extremely profitable, but it has a huge potential for development. Although, in fairness, it should be noted that some investors realize this, and therefore already actively interested in these technologies.
How much influence in foreign markets and foreign companies?
As I mentioned, our market is still very underdeveloped and this determines the policies of Western companies. While they are not active in the Ukraine, and basically we are looking at, to our internal trends and plans. Even those players who are planning to aggressively bring to market in Ukraine in connection with the financial crisis completely shut down their programs or froze them.
And finally, I can’t ask you the following question. Is there any chance for domestic companies occupy a prominent place among world producers working in the alternative energy industry?
I am absolutely sure that the chance we have. This industry is just interesting because it is one of the few where we can still make up for the existing backlog and even begin to compete on technology. Otherwise, we would simply not come into this business. And we came to it, I hope, for a long time.
Thank you very much for the interview.
The article was published in the journal «Alternative energy sources», № 3-4 2010.