The chief executive officer of Photon Energy, George Hotar, has claimed the company’s new strategy to move away from dependence on government support schemes for solar has been a success.

The PV plant installer has reported a year-on-year revenue increase of 17% for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Hotar believes the latest financial results demonstrate that Photon Energy has “rebounded” after a period in which the company was badly hit by a 26% rate ‘solar levy’ placed on power plants in the Czech Republic, as well as what it calls “discontinuities” affecting solar power industries in Slovakia, Italy and Germany.

According to a document explaining Photon Energy’s strategy shift, during the difficult period between 2011 and 2013, the company maintained stability through its 26MWp portfolio of PV plants, selling electricity as an independent power producer (IPP).

The company has put operations and maintenance (O&M) activities at the heart of its business strategy going forward. As a company, Photon Energy will be looking in future to maximise customer value through providing support and services through the whole expected life cycle of each PV installation. Along with O&M this includes energy advisory services, distributed energy generation, financing solutions and investment and commercial management.

According to Photon, in addition to this, opportunities in the Australian market will be key to the company’s strategy going forward. Photon last year launched a secured financing model for commercial rooftop PV in Australia through its fully-owned subsidiary, Photon Energy Generation Australia (PEGA).

A further boost came from the lowering of the retroactively introduced levy on solar power plants in the Czech Republic, which fell from 26% to 10%. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Photon Energy also has a sizeable presence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, operating 15MWp of PV in the Czech Republic alone. Photon was among the most outspoken critics of the Czech solar levy from its inception in 2010.

According to Hotar, the increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter of 2013 is the strongest sign of the company’s “rebound”. In Q4 2011 EBITDA showed as a loss of  2.667 million (US$3.65 million), in Q4 of 2012 the deficit was reduced to 0.299 million (US$0.41 million) and this year in the fourth quarter the figure stood at a positive figure of 1.12 million (US$1.53 million). Hotar argue that if adjusted for the Czech solar levy reduction the EBITDA for Q4 2013 would be 1.28 million (US$1.75 million).

In Q4 2013 the company sold 3.6GWh of PV-generated electricity, which Photon claims exceeded forecasts by nearly 24%.

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