The 35MWp Isohara solar farm in Japan that BayWa r.e. sold earlier this year. Image: BayWa r.e.

German agriculture group BayWa is forecasting a significant revenue rise at its renewables unit this year, thanks to a strong project pipeline and growth in PV component trading.

The positive projections follow a 2020 that saw BayWa r.e. reach new heights in both revenue and earnings, with the project development business helping to drive growth.

Last year, the company sold 14 ground-mounted solar parks with a combined capacity of 224.5MW and five floating PV projects totalling 78MW in markets such as the Netherlands, Spain and France, as well as Malaysia and Japan, with the business planning additional solar projects in Asia after gaining a foothold in these two markets.

BayWa r.e.’s services business, which includes solar project operation and maintenance activities, posted an 8% year-on-year rise in plant capacity under its management in 2020 to more than 9GW. The company’s total output of traded PV components rose by a double-digit percentage to more than 1GW.

Revenues in the renewables unit were up 23% on 2019 to €2.67 billion (US$3.15 billion), while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 10% to €110.9 million – figures that exceeded expectations.

BayWa CEO Klaus Josef Lutz said the company has benefited from the global expansion of renewables, which he describes as a “megatrend that continues unabated”. He added that the renewable energy unit “will continue to be a pillar of our success in the current financial year”.

The company expects BayWa r.e. to increase its revenue “significantly” this year, boosted by a solid project pipeline and additional growth in PV component trading, which has seen the company open a new warehouse in Poland to reduce delivery times to the country.

BayWa r.e.’s solar development pipeline stands a 841MW, mainly consisting of projects in the US, the Netherlands and Spain, while the business also has plans to expand its portfolio of floating PV plants.

Tailwinds will be provided this year by a capital increase BayWa r.e. completed earlier this year, with Swiss investor Energy Infrastructure Partners acquiring a 49% stake in the unit for €530 million.

The company has also announced that as of this year, renewable energy trading will operate under a newly established independent power producer business, which will manage around 600MW of solar and wind plants by the end of 2021 and 2.5GW of projects in the “medium term”, helping the company generate stable cash flows.

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