Photon Energy looks to new business areas as revenues fall 15%

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Dutch-headquartered Photon Energy has described its Q4 financial results as a reflection of “a challenging year with past issues weighing down on us,” but says the company has reacted by opening new revenue streams.

Founded originally in the Czech Republic, Photon has reported that during the full 2014 year, revenues fell to 11.76 million (US$13.44 million), a drop of 15.2% year-on-year. Losses before taxation for the period, meanwhile, stood at 1.372 million, compared to a 0.599 million loss in Q4 last year.

From its beginnings as a developer of PV plants, Photon has already diversified into services including operations and maintenance (O&M), with over 61.25MWp of assets under its recently launched ‘Inverter Cardio’ programme, including just over 7MWp of contracts added during the quarter. This is in addition to its existing O&M services for 100MWp of central inverters.

The company has also diversified geographically, moving away from its originally targeted markets, including the Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia. Photon said it had now pulled out of the Italian O&M market, due to “outrageous retroactive cuts to the support mechanism for PV plants by the Italian government,” which lowered revenues available to O&M providers.

Photon chief executive Georg Hotar had previously been immensely critical of retroactive support cuts in Italy and the Czech Republic, telling PV Tech last year that such cuts were “spreading like cancer”. While the Italian situation has grown worse for Photon, the company said a rise in value of some of its assets could be attributed in part to a more stable regulatory environment existing in the Czech Republic now than before.

Nonetheless, in diversifying its regional focus, the company has become increasingly active in Australia. It has worked on a number of commercial rooftop plants there, winning an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a 99kWp project in the last quarter. Also highlighted by Photon Energy in its financial results release was its work on the recently completed Muswellbrook telecommunications antenna project.

The Muswellbrook project is an off-grid installation, running a broadcasting tower from a combined 39kWp PV array and 216kWh storage battery, with a diesel generator for backup. Such projects in Australia and other remote areas with high solar irradiance including Latin America are garnering a fair deal of media attention in the industry, not least of all for trialling the seemingly strong economic case for similar installations.

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