18.02.2021 | Axpo Iberia supports energy efficiency measures of Portuguese SMEs
Axpo is intensifying its support for small and medium-sized enterprises in Portugal by providing 100% finance for their energy efficiency projects. Severely corona-impacted SMEs will not need to use their own depleting financial resources, making it possible for numerous business customers to switch to green electricity and significantly reduce their energy consumption.
Portugal has been hard hit by the coronavirus and is currently experiencing its third wave. The situation is serious, with hospitals operating at full capacity, a shortage of available intensive care beds, and much of the population sheltering at home.
Many small and medium-sized enterprises are also experiencing severe difficulties. With resources dwindling, why would they want to consider investing in energy efficiency?
SMEs have always been an important customer group for Axpo Iberia, the company’s subsidiary in the region. Thanks to its extensive know-how in energy management and renewable energies, Axpo has become a strong business partner for local mid-sized companies since its entry into the Portuguese market twelve years ago. So it is well aware of the vulnerable situation in which many companies find themselves today. Now, in these difficult times, the company is helping them to become more efficient, sustainable and competitive.
The growing interest of Portuguese SMEs in the use of 100% renewable energy has led to a significant increase in demand for sustainable energy solutions and efficiency measures. However, in many cases the challenging economic situation makes it difficult for companies to turn their good intentions into concrete projects.
Gabriel Caturla, who is responsible for energy efficiency at Axpo Iberia, said: "At the moment, lots of companies simply do not have the money to invest in the energy transition. A lack of financial resources is one of the biggest obstacles to the implementation of efficiency measures. In the coming months, the severe economic crisis caused by Covid-19 will further exacerbate this situation. The SMEs in Portugal have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus."
Axpo Iberia has decided to provide 100% financing for the energy efficiency projects of its business customers in Portugal, meaning companies do not have to dip into scarce equity for their investments in climate-friendly solutions. Axpo is making the necessary funds available to facilitate the energy transition for small and medium-sized enterprises without endangering their liquidity.
Energy efficiency measures covered by this funding include, for example, the construction of photovoltaic systems for self-consumption and the installation of LED lighting. Repayment for the pre-financed measures takes place in small, staggered instalments included on their electricity bill. This offers SMEs a greater degree of planning predictability as they are not required to pay large one-time sums.
The new financing model also has other advantages: Axpo Iberia's solutions enable companies to achieve significant savings in the long term. Solar plants on the company’s campus or the replacement of traditional lighting with LED technology make it possible for them to switch to locally generated green electricity, dramatically reducing energy costs.
Gabriel Caturla explained: "Depending on the case, energy efficiency measures can achieve an energy consumption reduction of more than 70%. Take, for example, a photovoltaic system for self-consumption use. If we look closely at the cost-efficiency ratio of this type of installation, we are talking about savings amounting to several thousand Euros per year because these plants have a very long operating life."
In most cases, amortisation of the invested capital in energy efficiency measures pays off in less than five years, thanks to the savings achieved. According to Gabriel Caturla, some projects can take a bit longer, "But in such cases, the companies also save a lot more money in the long term".
Money that the hard-hit SMEs can certainly use in these difficult times.
Axpo has been active in Portugal since 2009. The core business of the Portuguese subsidiary includes the marketing of renewable energy and providing integrated energy efficiency solutions for small and medium-sized companies. Axpo's market share for business customers in Portugal has been growing continuously. Since the take-over of the third-largest energy supplier Goldenergy in 2018, Axpo has also become one of the largest electricity and gas suppliers for private customers in Portugal.