Photon Energy grows IPP portfolio, benefits from ‘pivotal year’ in Australia

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A rooftop solar system in Sydney, Australia. Image: Photon Energy.

Photon Energy has reached more than 420MWp of PV projects under development, as the Netherlands-based renewables company weathered the impacts of COVID-19 on its financial performance last year.

During 2021, the firm built PV projects with a combined capacity of 23MWp in Hungary, bringing its independent power producer (IPP) portfolio to 74.7MWp, while its operations and maintenance unit has now reached more than 300MWp of solar assets under management globally.

The company’s largest three markets in terms of owned solar projects are Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It was Australia, however, where the firm enjoyed a “pivotal year”, thanks in part to the completion of construction at its first utility-scale power plants, which have a combined capacity of 14.6MWp and are located in New South Wales.

Last year also saw Photon Energy acquire a minority interest in RayGen, a Melbourne-based start-up that has developed a novel way of combining PV, concentrated solar power and thermal energy storage.

Photon closed 2020 with revenues of €28.3 million (US$33 million), a 6.3% decrease year-on-year, while EBITDA was up 6.3% to €8.4 million. CEO Georg Hotar said the company’s achievements in 2020 “stand as a testament to our ability to thrive despite unpredictable circumstances, and I look into 2021 and beyond with utmost confidence in our significant growth”.

This year will see the company develop and construct new solar projects in markets such Hungary, Poland, Romania and Australia. The firm also revealed it has been accepted by the Australian Energy Market Operator as a small generation aggregator, enabling it to aggregate small generators up to 5MWp, and in some cases up to 30MWp, and sell energy directly into Australia’s National Energy Market without the need to contract with an energy retailer. The company said this will enable it to create long-term recurring revenue streams.

Also in Australia, Photon has carried out an exchange of project rights with its development partner in the country, Canadian Solar. As a result, Photon will continue developing the 160MWp Maryvale plant in New South Wales with an increased 65% stake in the project, while further development of Gunning Solar Farm and Suntop 2 Solar Farm will be handled by Canadian Solar.

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