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Mining is a Strong Business Opportunity for European Solar Sector

Mining is a Strong Business Opportunity for European Solar Sector
December 02
15:26 2015

Returning to Brussels from COP21 in Paris, James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, is very optimistic about the global opportunities for European solar companies and, more particularly, about new business potential with mines. “Many European solar companies are interested in developing relationships with mines,” he points. “One of the first challenges is creating the relationships with mines.”

Watson will be chairing a session at Energy and Mines London Summit on January 28-29 which showcases the latest case studies of mines integrating renewables including the innovative PV-storage hybrid for DeGrussa Mine. SolarPower Europe members are eligible for a 20% discount on attending this two-day Summit by entering the code “solar20” on the event registration page.

Q: Have you had interest from your members in developing connections and project opportunities in the resource sector?

A: Yes, we have had interest. Many European solar companies are interested in developing relationships with mines. A number of our members have brought this up and we recognize and see this as a big opportunity.

Having solar deployed for mines is also an opportunity for the mining sector because it helps reduce energy costs and secure energy supply and, in this time of volatile oil pricing, solar can offset operational costs significantly.

It has not been a traditional part of our focus but it is now more of interest. With the slowdown of government incentives, we are looking more at private sector opportunities. This is a new business model for continued growth of the solar sector.

Q: What do you see as some of the challenges that the solar sector may have to overcome in order to accelerate the uptake of solar for mines?

A: One of the first challenges is creating the relationships with mines. We still like to meet face-to-face and a lot of companies aren’t sure how to create the right links. So I think opportunities like the one Energy and Mines is creating are really important to increase the potential for business to take place and create the right frameworks for doing business.

Q: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for your members with the mining sector?

A: In terms of geographies, Australia, South Africa, and Latin America – Chile, in particular – is where we see the biggest opportunities today. But also European mines are looking at this and it might well be the case that we can help build the opportunity for more European mines turning to solar.

Q: What are you looking forward to at the Energy and Mines London Summit on Jan 28-29?

A: The mining sector does offer a great opportunity for solar and now we need to make a case on the business level which is why we have engaged with Energy and Mines on the London Summit. In Paris this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement regarding a global solar alliance and there are a lot of mining countries that are part of this initiative. If these countries want to see solar implemented, there is a role to play with private sector and there is a great opportunity here to enhance and boost solar as part of the energy solutions for mines.



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Pablo Crespo

Pablo Crespo

Journalist and Corporate Communications Professional

TWITTER / @ENERGYANDMINES