Solar top money-maker for Neoen as LatAm project wrap-ups loom

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One of the LatAm solar projects Neoen hopes to deliver in Q1 2020 is 375MWp el Llano in Mexico, boasting 191MW of LONGI’s mono-crystalline modules. Image credit: LONGi

The delivery of sizeable projects in 2019 helped push solar to the top of Neoen’s portfolio in 2019, with large plants in Latin America set to further boost the numbers as they go live in 2020.

Shares of the Euronext-listed renewable energy developer rose to one-year highs of €35.1 (US$38) after its latest financial update showed full-year revenues grew 22% between 2018 (€207 million, or US$223 million) and 2019 (€253.2 million, or US$273 million).

As anticipated by Q2 2019 and Q3 2019 updates, solar was the chief driver of Neoen’s strong turnover during the year. The segment posted revenues of €119.1 million (US$128.6 million) in 2019 – a 48% year-on-year jump – and accounts now for 47% of firm-wide revenues, up from 39% in 2018.

For their part, Neoen’s wind assets had been the top money-maker in 2018 but fell behind solar in 2019 as revenues increased 3% to €111 million (US$119 million). Turnover from energy storage assets saw, meanwhile, 14% growth between 2018 (€17.9 million) and 2019 (€20.5 million).

Quizzed by PV Tech over the firm’s EBITDA and net income records for 2019, a Neoen spokesperson said today these figures will be released on 25 March 2020. Earlier financial updates show net income was €7,4 million (US$8 million) in 2017 and €13.5 million (US$14.5 million) in 2018.

Neoen’s current guidance, reconfirmed this week, anticipates an EBITDA of €212-219 million (US$230-236 million) for the whole of 2019. Company goals for 2021 should see the indicator reach the €400 million (US$432 million) mark by next year.  

Project wrap-ups this year in Mexico, El Salvador and Argentina

Based on this week’s update, Neoen’s renewable project fleet saw marked growth in 2019, the year following its stock exchange listing in October 2018. Last year, the entire portfolio added 3GW across all project stages, hitting 10.7GW at the end of December.

According to Neoen, 3GW-plus of the 10.7GW recorded as of 31 December 2019 was either in operation (1.8GW) or under construction (1.2GW). By the end of 2021, the company’s plan is to reach 5GW of renewables either being built or already delivered.

Maps released as part of the update show most of Neoen’s present construction pipeline lies on American soil (61%), with Australia (22%) and Europe-Africa (17%) trailing behind. At 726MWp being built, the firm’s current America work is exclusively solar assets in Spanish-speaking states.

The largest project under construction – 375MWp el Llano, in Mexico – is set for completion in Q1 2020. A winner of Mexico’s green energy auction of late 2017, the plant was financed by Bancomext, Natixis and Société Générale and boasts 191MW of LONGI’s mono-crystalline modules.

To the southeast in El Salvador, Neoen is hoping to deliver a complex mixing PV (143MWp) and li-ion batteries (3MW/1.8MWh) also in Q1 2020. Over in Argentina, its auction-backed 208MWp Altiplano solar project is slated for completion in Q3 2020.

Beyond the Americas, other markets where Neoen solar assets are being built include its home market of France (53MWp across various PV projects) and Mozambique, where its 41MWp Metoro PV project broke ground last December and should complete this very quarter.

Solar prospects and challenges in France and the rest of Europe will take centre stage at Solar Media's Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 31 March-1 April 2020).

Meanwhile, the new era of Latin American solar and storage will be explored at Solar Media's Energy Storage Latin America (Colombia, on 28-29 April 2020).

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