(Bloomberg) — Conergy, the closely held solar developer
majority backed by Kawa Capital Management, expects to install
about 450 megawatts of projects this year, part of a pipeline
that may grow to 4 gigawatts.
The Hamburg-based company, which develops rooftop and
ground-mounted systems in more than a dozen countries, installed
about 300 megawatts last year, Chief Executive Officer Andrew de Pass said Monday in a telephone interview. That generated
revenue of more than half a billion dollars and helped the
company turn a profit.
Conergy is seeking to expand in the U.S., where
residential- and commercial-scale demand is the fastest growing
market segment, said de Pass, who founded Citigroup Inc.’s
Sustainable Development Investments platform before joining
Conergy. He sees the company competing with renewable-energy
developers including SunEdison Inc., which last year deployed
more than 1 gigawatt of solar systems.
“While we’re obviously not the same size as SunEdison, our
objective is to be one of the top-five largest developers in the
U.S. in 2015,” de Pass said. “Because the costs have collapsed
over 80 percent over the last five years, it’s really
approaching grid parity in country after country and state after
Kawa, which manages about $600 million, in 2013 bought the
downstream segments of Conergy, whose parent company filed for
insolvency. Conergy no longer manufactures solar components,
which gives the company added flexibility, de Pass said.
“We’re equipment agnostic,” he said. “If you’re
manufacturing, you’re going to have a bias toward that
equipment, and it may not make the most economic sense. I can
pick and choose the best product for my specific application.”
Solar demand in the U.S. this year may reach almost 9
gigawatts as it exceeds 58 gigawatts globally, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Conergy’s pursuit of a downstream-only business model isn’t
surprising after an overcapacity of panels pushed down equipment
prices and squeezed margins, said Jacqueline Lilinshtein, a New
York-based analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“With a healthy balance sheet and cash on hand, Conergy’s
development wing can take advantage of strong solar demand in
the U.S.,” Lilinshtein said. “Even after some federal
subsidies expire in 2016, Conergy can rely on a healthy small-scale market in the residential and commercial space.”
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Jim Efstathiou Jr., Robin Saponar