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There Is More Capital Available Today For Sustainability Than Ever Before: Milan Koev, Founder and CEO, Hexagon Peak

Milan Koev, Founder and CEO, Hexagon Peak

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Conversation Highlights:

  • The Philippines may lead the show in the next few years because currently, that’s where Solar makes the most sense.
  • In the Philippines, the liberalized discom market opens more possibilities for fair competition.
  • We started developing a 200 MW project in the Philippines.

Tell us how has the year 2022 been for Hexagon?

2022 is the year of new hopes, not only for us but for the world altogether. As we are all moving forward towards post-covid life, so is the Solar industry in general. And I feel more than ever the climate movement has accelerated globally. There is more capital available today for sustainability than ever before. Probably covid has helped to open a lot of very thick eyelids. I see that the narrative has shifted from “sustainability versus the economy” to “sustainability at any cost”. We have today customers that are willing to pay higher electricity bills only for the purpose of their net zero commitments. Even though these are insignificant numbers, still, there is hope for change. So let’s call 2022 the year of hope. The Russia-Ukraine nonsense helped the industry even further. I am honestly a little surprised that the same bunch of empty-minded politicians who almost ruined the world’s economies during covid have responded to the war even worse. The sad thing is that because of their inadequate actions and reactions, mostly poor countries suffer. With this artificial inflation going on, we will see a tough and cold winter in Europe. Especially with the ridiculous electricity bills. This is good news for solar, but it’s for the wrong reasons, so there is no reason for celebration.

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How has the solar industry emerged in South East Asia post-pandemic?

SEA is always a few years behind Europe and US in terms of the development of its solar industries. Inevitably countries in SEA will be moving more and more towards Solar (and wind). Currently, however, SEA as a region is nearly down to absolute zero in terms of new Solar added. Vietnam is stuck on designing its solar-free future, as its latest PDP8 draft suggests. Indonesia’s policymakers are lost in their own maze. They don’t seem to be able to figure it out, perhaps with the help of the strong coal lobby. Malaysia has very slow-capped capacity additions with its LSS program. Singapore has long-term plans, but you need to zoom in a lot on Google Maps in order to actually see where Singapore is, so even floating Solar is highly constrained due to the lack of space. The Philippines may lead the show in the next few years because currently, that’s where Solar makes the most sense – with electricity bills the highest in the region. The Mekong delta countries are nowhere near optimistic forecasts. Because of all the above, here and there some rooftop projects are taking place, but the potential is way more. Bilateral PPAs or CFDs are missing in SEA and hopefully, with the pilot in Vietnam, things will change quicker in that direction for the rest of the region.

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Which country do you feel has the most potential for renewable energy in South East Asia? Why?

The Philippines. High electricity cost, plenty of lands available. Relatively good yield. The new administration shows very positive signals towards renewables. International banks are present. There are power shortages due to the complexity of the energy mix. The liberalized discom market opens more possibilities for fair competition. There are of course challenges as well, but not impossible to handle.

What have been some prominent projects for Hexagon this year? What does the product pipeline look like for next year?

We started developing a 200 MW project in the Philippines. We will need approx.100 MW of Solar in Vietnam for our corporate customers.

What do you think the next 5 years will look like for the solar technology space?

Batteries. Storage. BESS. Not sure if they have also other names for it. But it’s clear that once the technology cost resumes its downward trend, batteries will become mainstream. A matter of a few more years really. After which, a solar system without batteries will become obsolete in most parts of the world.

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