POWERING BUSINESSES

Panama 2019 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Celsia is developing projects for distributed generation in a bid to promote electric mobility across the country.

Javier E. Gutiérrez Alzate
BIOGRAPHY
Javier E. Gutiérrez Alzate is a civil engineer from the School of Engineering of Antioquia, with a specialization in administration from the ICESI University of Cali. He is a graduate of the top management program of the INALDE Business School. He has over 20 years of experience working for different companies in Grupo Argos, including Celsia.

What have been the highlights of recent years?

2018 was a great year for the company's Central American operations as we fulfilled all the target objectives. Our severity and frequency indicators were the best throughout the region. Regarding operational issues, we began our entry into Honduras through the execution of our first solar farm. With this project, we have taken the first step as a company in the B2B business in Honduras. In Costa Rica, we are continuing with the storage business. In fact, we are working in storage associated with solar distributed generation. In the case of Panama, in addition to the traditional generation of distribution, one of our new targets is the first massive residential project with solar panels using photovoltaic distribution technology already installed on the rooftops of houses. This project represents a milestone in Central America and Colombia. This project is done in partnership with Provivienda, which is one of the main actors in the construction and promotion of housing. To date, 104 houses have been delivered. However, this is a 20-year project that includes 10,000 units.

What about your current projects in Panama?

We are developing three large projects for distributed generation for food companies, shopping centers, and a liquor factory. The distributed generation reaches sectors like commercial, residential, industrial, and offices. At the end of 2018, we had 1-MW contracts in distributed generation and were immersed in the assembly process. We will deliver those projects in 2019 and expect them to generate benefits for our customers. Regarding electrical real estate, we assembled, installed, and inaugurated the country's first multi-brand (multiprotocol) electric vehicle charging station in association with the AltaPlaza mall. There are two charging points available for all protocols or types of electric or hybrid vehicles. Our aim is to install two more this year. Regarding non-conventional renewable energies with a centralized generation, we have acquired the Divisa 10-MW Solar Farm in Aguadulce.

What are some of Celsia's corporate social responsibility initiatives?

We are doing several things in Panama, mainly in communities near generation plants. In 2018 and 2019, we worked on school infrastructure in Chiriquí. In Colón, we provide classrooms equipped for children with special abilities. Also, we have improved the electrical installation in schools. More than 100 children in Colón participate in our karate program every Saturday. Furthermore, the Celsia Cup of Karate featured 600 athletes from all over the world. In Chiriquí, we offer workshops, improved parks, and implement water-related projects. In Costa Rica, we worked in old schools and constructed a skate park in 2018 in the community of Guayabo. In 2019, we changed the roof of the communal house. In Honduras, we have been working with the communities of Comayagua, a region where we are implementing a solar farm. Furthermore, we will do an electric rally in 2019 from San José to Panama. Electric mobility touches on economic and social issues across communities. We want to promote electric mobility in the countryside and the city and make mobility greener.

What are the plans and objectives for 2019?

We are considering expanding into other countries in the Central American and Caribbean region. Our goal is to close 2019 with the signing and installation of 20MW of distributed generation with solar panels in the region. We want to continue with the traditional assets of generation.