2021 has been a really demanding year for the trajectory of GRS. In the midst of a tragic global health crisis, we have been able to adapt, and have decided to grow. With the support of the whole Gransolar Group, we have increased our activity in Europe, America, Africa and Oceania. We have successfully registered our Carbon Footprint, and we have consolidated our presence in Australia with a significant number of new contracts and achieving the Australian Work Health and Safety accreditation.
Accreditation as a responsible company and commitment to environment
In accordance with our objective of contributing to the European Green Pact, on the road to a climate-neutral and resource-efficient transformation, we continue to play an important role in the global fight against climate change. In this line, GRS successfully registered its Carbon Footprint as assigned by the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.
“From GRS we want to emphasize the benefits of energy efficiency, which result in a greater well-being for citizens, increased security, and a benefit to the environment with a significant reduction of CO2 emissions. The carbon footprint is another example of our firm contribution to global decarbonisation through our projects”, says Jordi Vega, our Chief Operating Officer.
Our responsibility with the environment is global, but our main concerns start at home. Ensuring the safety, security, and health of our own employees on site and offices is a major priority. Our working environment rigorously follows international working standards based on efforts that allow us to constantly adapt to the different world markets and technological changes in the renewables sector. Thus, we have recently received the accreditation under the Australian Federal Safety Commissioner’s Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme.
As Australian Federal Government funding rules require FSC accreditation for construction projects they fund, GRS is now able to directly undertake federally funded construction projects and can operate as the main construction contractor for clients receiving federal government funding. Under these new conditions we have already signed an important number of contracts for future EPCs across Australia, which will begin to be developed in the coming months.
“Under the Federal Safety Commissioner’s accreditation scheme, the auditors (“Federal Safety Officers”, FSOs), are independent work health and safety experts who are engaged by the Commissioner. Whilst this ensures objectivity and avoids a conflict of interest, it makes the audit process very tough for the applicant companies”, says Jonathan Garton, our WHS Manager in Australia.
Global growth and consolidation in the international market
Although we extend our borders beyond our continent, our role in Europe is also growing considerably.
In February we signed an important 48.5 MW EPC contract in Portugal. In accordance with the requirements arranged with the European Chint Solar division of the multinational CHINT Group, we are currently building the Insua PV project. Located in the region of Pias (Serpa, Portugal), the EPC agreement covers the detailed engineering design, construction, and supply of solar tracking systems.
As our COO, Jordi Vega, explains: “It is especially important for us to consolidate our position in Europe and, particularly, in Portugal, a country where we want to maintain our activity, aligning our business with the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the European Union’s Agenda 2030“. The Insua photovoltaic plant will have 116,778 modules, which will produce approximately 90,132 MWh/year, enough energy to cover the electricity demand of 25,000 households.
With this new project, GRS strengthens its position in Europe, one of the markets where it expects to continue adding projects in 2021.
We have also started new challenging projects in the UK, such as the Larks Green solar farm. Our first ever project in the UK came through an agreement with Cero Generation to develop an 80-hectare photovoltaic plant 14 km northeast of Bristol in South Gloucestershire.
In our commitment to local job creation wherever we build and operate PV projects, around 250 local employees will be involved throughout construction. “Teamwork is the key piece in this new project, as the contribution of each department is crucial to keep achieving success in the renewable energy market”, says Christian Moeckel Picchi, Commercial Director of GRS.
Larks Green is expected to be operating at full capacity by the end of 2022. The energy produced by this plant will prevent the emission of around 30.874 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to the emissions of 9.000 average vehicles.
Following our strategy of international expansion in countries with a strong renewable energy industry, we established our new corporate office in the United States located in Dallas, Texas. As José Miguel Plaza, our Managing Director in the USA points out, “we are committed to returning to the United States, where we will take advantage of our knowledge of the country, where we have already built several photovoltaic plants, relying on its strong industrial industry to contribute to its sustainability and energy efficiency objectives”.
The new location of our offices in the USA allows us to have a better understanding of and closer relationship with our clients in order to cover all the needs of large-scale photovoltaic and energy storage projects, from engineering to operation and maintenance. This aligns with our main objective of increasing our portfolio of PV and BESS projects in the US.
We maintain our international presence with new projects, such as the O&M of the Greefspan II PV plant in South Africa. After successfully completing the commissioning of our third EPC project in South Africa, we have established ourselves as a major contributor to the advancement of renewable energies in a country that, according to our Country Manager Dylan Tudor-Jones, “requires new sustainable electricity supply capacity in order to support the growth and recovery of the economy from covid 19”.
Greefspan II has 188,822 PV modules that will produce approximately 150,000 MWh of clean energy each year, providing a constant flow of supply for an estimated 20,000 South African households.
Achievement beyond our goals
We continue to work on new projects and business opportunities that contribute to local sustainability and energy efficiency goals. An example of our productivity is the current performance of Las Naranjillas PV plant. The latest figures provided by our O&M department show an above-target performance whereby the 50 MW plant produces enough energy to meet the electricity demand of nearly 14,000 households and avoids the emission of almost 52,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Taking stock of 2021 will be a hard personal moment for many of our employees. At GRS we understand this, and that’s why we are committed to providing our people with the best working conditions and involve them in a solid and growing company, determined to keep moving forward in this new year.