SolarQuarter Middle East interviewed Mr. Karel De Winter – Commercial Director and Co-founder, Hy-Energie FZ and got some insights on the services provided by the company Hy Energie, its project performance and technological innovations. We also got to know his future outlook on the solar sector in the Middle East region.
Please tell the readers about the services Hy Energie provides in the renewable energy domain.
Hy-Energie FZE is a boutique energy engineering company, based in Umm Al Quwain Freezone and Business Bay, Dubai, UAE.
Hy-Energie was created to provide the right hybrid or storage based solar solution to off-grid clients that want to implement renewables in their projects in a straightforward & cost competitive way. We do the engineering so you don’t have to.
Our focus is on robust, reliable cost-effective storage & hybrid solutions allowing our residential, commercial & industrial clients to tap into the enormous potential solar & storage brings.
We pride ourselves to create optimal, plug & play energy solutions for specific industry applications without complexity, allowing drop in replacements.
How have your projects performed last year, financially and technically especially with the Covid crisis? Any key learnings?
There was of course a slowdown at the start of the pandemic as in every sector, however we are very optimistic on the uptake now as we are continuing to see strong interests & growth in our solutions.
In times of uncertainty, it makes sense for our customers to look at their costs and to study how they can reduce these. Solar and storage allows for just that and is a low hanging fruit.
Our self-reliant systems offer significant financial savings and are thus quite recession proof.
We are glad that the UAE has vaccinated almost the entire population as this allows for more face-to-face meetings. In doing so our passion shines through and it is easier to convince our clients of the benefits and how we can execute.
Thanks to or despite covid we are covering a wider area as on-line meetings become the norm so it is easier to reach out and have interactions with clients that are not that physically accessible.
So, I would say we prefer to look at the flipside of the coin and make the best of it!
Technological innovations are playing a remarkable role in the Solar sector. What are some of the key milestones achieved recently by your esteemed company with respect to technological advancements?
The world of batteries and storage is abuzz with new technologies, innovations and massive scale increases. And also, solar seems to be humming along nicely with continuous improvements finding their way in new product releases! The future is bright indeed! It seems that every other month a new low-cost breakthrough is achieved or a new storage innovation is promising the end of fossil fuel electricity generation as we know it.
On top of that, don’t forget the constant innovations in business models!
On our side we have been successful in breaking through in proof-of-concept solutions that build confidence at the customer side because of the robustness of our solar/storage solutions. This allows our customers to confidently migrate more and more legacy systems to Solar & Storage.
One of those key realizations for clients is that Solar + Storage is not intermittent – it provides a cost-effective, more convenient and solid replacement to diesel fueled legacy systems.
Word about your recent successful contributions to this industry? What has been your biggest challenge so far?
There have been a couple. One of our biggest challenges has been to drive speed & accelerate the uptake of Solar+Storage in the industry. Of course, as industry veterans we live and breathe solar every day and we recognize a good deal when we see one, but this may not be the case with our clients who may get confused by the offerings available. And with so much innovation and speed in the market, who can blame them? We understand that fully and are passionate about solar and love to teach & convince.
A second challenge is that not one company controls all levers anymore which means a networking mindset is mandatory. If you want the best finance, the best monitoring, the best storage etc etc, you need to be able to optimize the network of companies and solutions and drive all to the end goal of value for money for the customer. This requires an open mind and a broad knowledge of many fields. But if you love what you do, you can feel a lot of satisfaction from such cooperation & networks.
Lastly, how do you see the solar sector progressing in the Middle East market in the next 5 years?
The on grid solar sector & the utility scale market will boom!
I truly believe we have finally turned the corner and are gathering more and more speed. Whereas a few years back we only had a few companies (less than 20) and few sales people reaching out and spreading the news, we now have close to 200 companies active plus many more looking to enter and spreading the news on what solar can do and how much it can save.
We do expect that a consolidation will be happening– especially in the Commercial & Industrial segment – where volume is King & cheap finance is Queen.
In our segment of solar solutions, storage & hybrids, I expect more success stories to make the frontpages. Great solutions exist but need to be put in the limelight and many people want a 1st hand experience before making the switch from fossil to renewables.
However, this is only a matter of time, Solar will be mainstream – there is no stopping solar.