Greenbuddies tips – February 2021


Rivian – a new threat to Tesla?

Only few today doubt that Tesla is one of the most progressive and innovative car manufacturers that has emerged in the last few decades. Over the past couple of years it has built a strong position among manufacturers of luxury electric cars, which, with all due respect, none of the existing premium cars in the world have actually been able to threaten. However, this can change relatively quickly. Why and how? There are several reasons.

Rumours about robust plans to build electric vehicles of Apple, one of the world’s most valuable companies, and GM’s announcements suggest that the new era of battery-powered cars and trucks is gaining momentum. Today, however, we will focus on another potential competitor of Tesla. It is an extremely ambitious project, associated with Jeff Bezos, or better said with his logistics giant Amazon, as the main shareholder, and the engineer R. J. Scaringe as its CEO. The original idea was conceived sometimes before 2009 and soon thereafter was turned into a real-lif project called Rivian. The company has in the meantime grown into an aggressive and financially strong challenger to Tesla who recently announced that it has raised an additional $ 2.65 billion in the latest round of IPO. That increases the company’s total funding to at least $ 8 billion, more than any previous U.S. automotive start-up. Delivery of the first electric models is scheduled to begin in mid-2021 and will be built at a renovated automanufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois. But that’s not all: the American electric car manufacturer wants to build a factory in Europe just like Tesla.
A little context to better illustrate the point: As is well known, Tesla has big plans in Grünheide, Germany. They want to build a huge factory to produce 500,000 cars a year, which will also become the largest battery factory. However, the construction of the Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin is stalled, according to reports leaking to the public. Insiders even talk about a “huge delay.” Five months before the planned start of production, crucial parts of the building were still missing and the application for a battery production permit had not yet been submitted to the state authority. According to the “Business Insider”, the underground infrastructure for electricity and water supply has not yet been built.
So when could one imagine a better time come for Rivian, as a young ambitious competitor of Tesla, to attack the current leader with his own factory built somewhere in Europe? In addition to the United Kingdom and Hungary, Germany is one of the possible potential venues of interest.
At the factory, Rivian initially intends to produce vans for the logistics giant Amazon and later also passenger cars.
Rivian is considered by experts to be a serious competitor of Tesla. Firstly, the company already has on its books a significant order for 100,000 electrical vans from its shareholder Amazon. And secondly, Rivian already has two finished car models. Production and delivery of the R1T pick-up is to begin in June, followed by the R1S SUV in August – a segment in which Tesla also has ambitious plans.
Thanks to this newly ordered electric vehicle fleet Amazon wants to become more independent of logistics giants such as UPS and DHL, and at the same time come much closer to its goal of delivering half of its shipments by 2030 completely without greenhouse gas emissions. R.J. Scaringe hopes to be able to start production of these small battery-powered trucks as early as 2022.
And so we are in for a very interesting battle among the gigantic manufacturers of electric cars, which will certainly be worth watching very closely!


Establishment of the Dutch branch GB Energy BV

Greenbuddies first service deliveries were to Germany; year after that Greenbuddies, s.r.o. had a modest fair stand at Solar Solutions International in Expo Haarlemmermeer near Amsterdam. Since than we are steadily increasing our construction volumes in the Netherlands.

In the course of time we came across with Jos Schlangen, an experienced Solar expert which is in the Dutch Solar industry since the industry itself started. Jos, previously working for at-that-time-solar-giants like Siemens or Shell, became our face to the Dutch & Belgian markets and he quickly gained respect and confidence by our clients. As a next logical step – together with more complex works which we also started to deliver became a decision to setup a local Dutch entity. Since December 2020 there is a joined local company called Greenbuddies Energy BV and we are adding more workforce to cope with the challenges of the fast growing market. Jos is not only leading the office but is also a shareholder to the company.
Apart from agile support of our construction, installation and time-to-time also EPC activities the new office backed with a strong international investor is mandated to create a pipeline of more than 100 MW of own PV projects within next 2-3 years, so we are looking for land and roofs which would be available for solar projects.

We are looking forward that you meet our Dutch team at the Greenbuddies stand of Solar Solutions 2021 in September this year!


Why should I invest into a photovoltaic plant?

Everybody is well aware of alarming carbon dioxide levels and other damaging impacts of human activities on Earth and most of the people in western affluant countries are trying to act environmental-friendly, whether it is by riding a bike to work or by waste sorting. But investment in renewable energies has been widely considered as noble but without financial support from the EU and governments unprofitable.

Indeed, a decade ago solar parks wouldn’t stand a chance against conventional generation from the economic perspective, if it wasn’t for heavy subsidies. However, as time went on, the costs of main components (especially modules) have been dropping exponentially. According to the annual report by IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) from 2019, the LCOE (levelised costs of electricity) for solar decreased by almost 90 % just within the last decade! Probably the most stunning fact is that solar is becoming the cheapest source of energy, even cheaper than fossil fuels, which can be seen in the figure below.

Source: IRENA; Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019: Latest Trends and DriversAvailable online: 

The exponential decline hasn’t reached its bottom yet, but the rate is clearly slowing down. Moreover, once the policymakers realize that solar segment is viable in free market conditions, they will cut off the subsidies which are still available. Given all the data we have, it seems that now it’s the best time for investment in PV plant because the price of electricity grows steadily year after year. Hence, ownership of a PV plant ensures stable cash flow for a long time.

Investment in PV combines several benefits. Firstly, it makes your future electricity bills predictable and significantly lower if you fit the consumption to the size of the plant while protecting yourself from the increase of electricity costs. This also makes you less dependent on the grid availability. Secondly, you can use it for marketing purposes since you are powered by green energy. And thirdly and most imporantly, you can make decent money out of it when you simply decide to sell the generated energy to the grid.

Am I the right person?

Basically, you can install PV anywhere; field, meadow, landfill, water reservoir, flat roof, tilted roof and so on. All of these surfaces can be covered with panels. And if you are still hesitating whether western/central Europe is a suitable place for a PV plant then the graph below showing installed solar capacity in the Netherlands is self-explanatory.Source: TU Delft, Dutch Solar EnergyAvailable online: