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KERSELF: GLOBAL SUPPLIER OF TURNKEY PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS
The Italian company Kerself is not only one of the major European players in the photovoltaic panel business (the group is now third or fourth in Europe, and number one in Italy). Company chairman and founder, Pier Angelo Masselli, claims another first: “We are one of the best qualified operators in Europe for the supply of integrated solutions”. In fact the Italian group, founded in 1998, is able to manage every aspect of the creation of a photovoltaic system.
Can you help customers obtain funds? Photovoltaic systems are very capital intensive, so success depends on a suitable business plan.
Of course. We also take care of the financial side. To us, “turnkey” really does mean something. For this reason, we like to think we can take care of everything.
Please could you describe every step Kerself manages during the supply of a photovoltaic system?
Firstly, I would like to say that there are many steps requiring different kinds of expertise. However, Kerself is able to supply them all. In practice, we start off by finding the most suitable site. After that, we go about getting the necessary authorisation and permission and deal with all the other red-tape. We can then start installing the panels and the cabling and other connections. Lastly, we test the electrical supply network’s connection to the photovoltaic system or the solar collector field.
How difficult is it to manage this complex process of implementation?
There really are a lot of steps, but if complexity brings transparency, so much the better. This way you can see who is serious in this business, like us, and who is just playing at it. In addition: we have so much experience of complexity that we are quite ready to take on projects outside Italy.
Which countries are you most interested in?
Without doubt, the Mediterranean. We are already in Greece and Turkey, where we expect to produce 2 MW in a joint venture with a Turkish company in 2009. Spain is also very interesting. We should not forget mature markets like Germany, though, where we have been selling for some time and are now seen as a valuable player in the clean energy sector. Here is just one example: a leading German producer of solar cells who came to Italy to build systems has decided to use us as its exclusive supplier.
So Kerself has space for organic growth, both in Italy and abroad. But what do you need to really take off?
The business cannot develop just along internal lines. There will have to be take-overs if we are going to reach critical mass. We know this, and we are not afraid: we have enough credibility and lines of credit to make acquisitions.
Will you have to put more emphasis on the competitive lever of increased technological added value?
Let’s be clear about this: nowadays, in the area of cells and solar modules, research can only be used to improve existing technologies. Instead of finding really innovative solutions, it is possible nowadays to make improvements and adaptations to existing technology in order to achieve - as does Kerself – higher efficiencies than our competitors. But efficiency can also be improved elsewhere. Kerself, in particular, has optimised the design and industrialisation of systems. In this way, it can take pre-installed structures to the final site instead of individual panels, thus reducing photovoltaic system production times. In this way, space is used as efficiently as possible and checks, maintenance and any necessary repair work are made easier.