The Luxembourg-based company has been recognized by the Austrian foundation for its initiative to make solar energy self-consumption accessible to all.
Photo: Erick Durand founded Alma Solar in 2011 and now distributes photovoltaic equipment in 36 countries / Credits © Energy Globe Awards
Organized by the independent Energy Globe Foundation based in Austria, the prize recognizes renewable energy projects in Europe and worldwide.
The jury included Indian politician, animal rights activist, and environmentalist Maneka Gandhi. It awarded the Luxembourg-based company for its initiative to make solar energy accessible to all, thanks to its online configurator, an application that calculates the energy customers can save with solar panels.
While connecting to the webshop software, customers can determine the solar kit and equipment– including solar panels, inverters and batteries – suitable for their buildings as well as the installation price, in one click. A five-year risk insurance plan insures against unpredictable and sudden damage.
The Energy Globe Foundation has praised the company’s approach of “democratizing photovoltaic systems by offering a range of high-quality solar products to individual customers from the residential market”.
The organization has also welcomed its innovative approach: “As the leading online supplier of solar kits, Alma Solar has been able to penetrate the European market,” it said. “Before that, solar companies have sold their products directly to electricity companies with little attention focused on consumer engagement”.
“We can all produce our own energy according to our needs and wherever we live”.
“We aim to promote a more sustainable energy consumption as well as the well-being of our customer,” said Erick Durand, the company’s founder and CEO. “We can all produce our own energy according to our needs and wherever we live. Our online platform allows us to break boundaries while promoting sustainability”.
In 2019, Alma installed solar panels with a performance of 9 MW, mainly for the residential market. In the same year, their installation range covered more than 70% of France and 50% in Belgium.
The company will represent Luxembourg at the Energy Globe Awards World. “Sustainable projects and companies that are successful in the renewable energy industry exist in the Grand-Duchy. And we should not forget that!“ Durand added.
Launched in July 2011, Alma Solar’s business expanded with the growth of the self-consumption market: “You install your solar panels on your roof or in your garden. You plug them into your electrical board, and you consume what you produce. No more administrative or state aid constraints that impose technical limitations on you,” Durand told Silicon Luxembourg in June 2019.
Alma Solar distributes photovoltaic equipment in 36 countries including France, Belgium, Switzerland down to Portugal, Mali and Vietnam, New Caledonia from its Luxembourg-based 900-m2 storage in Kayl. The company had 3k orders in 2020 and 10k customers.
However, the Grand-Duchy accounts for 2% of Alma Solar’s turnover only: “It is a strategic decision,” Durand explained. “Enovos the national operator has the monopoly on the whole energy value chain. Therefore, the country has no interest in promoting the self-consumption of solar energy, as it would reduce Enovos’ market shares”.
The producer and supplier of renewable energies is a company of Encevo Group. Its activities include the production, storage, supply and transport up to trading, distribution and services. It serves customers in Luxembourg, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The Luxembourg State is the main shareholder (around 75%), followed by China Southern Power Grid International (24.92%) and Ardian, a private investment house owned by French insurer Axa (0.56%).
In October 2019, Alma Solar was shortlisted for the Digital Solar & Storage Startup Awards (see our article “Alma Solar Shortlisted For The Digital Solar & Storage Startup Awards“).
Founded in 1999, the Energy Globe Award is annually granted at national and world level in 187 countries, to innovative and sustainable projects that tackle environmental problems. The event is organized in cooperation with the international offices of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) headquartered in Vienna. The Energy Globe’s database includes around 20,000 projects submitted from 2000-2019.