German renewables giant looks to tap Australian off-grid market

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German renewable energy developer juwi buys controlling take in Australian company Qi Power in anticipation of a boom in off-grid solar/storage market.

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Leading German renewable energy developer juwi has bought a controlling stake in Queensland-based Qi Power as the two companies target the rapidly emerging market for off-grid and on-grid renewable projects in Australia.

juwijuwi is the world’s second biggest independent contractor for and developer of solar PV projects, installing 1.35GW (including a 1MW solar PV farm for a BHP Billiton mine in Chile), and it has also built 1.5GW of wind projects.

The mining sector, which is under pressure from rising diesel and gas costs, is the main market, with more mining companies looking to solar PV and storage in particular to deflect the rising costs of fossil fuels.

Qi Power CEO Andrew Drager said the two companies will look at projects in the “few megawatts to 20MW” size. He said there was clearly growing interest from large, off grid power consumers, and the company had built a “substantial pipeline” of projects.

“The combination of Qi Power and juwi is an exciting opportunity to provide lower cost renewable energy to a region with some of the world’s highest power costs and the best resources of renewables,” he said.

Amiram Roth-Deblon, juwi’s head of its Asia Pacific division, said the two companies would look to tap the “great renewable energy potential of the continent and provide independence to businesses and energy users.”

He said the two companies would offer first class solar and wind technologies to industries and consumers in remote areas as well as EPC services to utility scale grid connected projects.

juwi was founded in Germany in 1996 by Matthias Willenbacher and Fred Jung. It has more than €1.1 billion in revenue, mostly from its solar, wind and bio energy developments.

Drager co-founded Qi Power with Bertus de Graf, the former head of geothermal energy developer Panax Geothermal.

 

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