Greenbuddies Tips – January 2022

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A shift in the approach to understanding quality

We at Greenbuddies hold several ISO certifications. In 2018, we met the requirements for ISO 9001:2015, which specifies requirements for the quality management system. As of 2021 we have been certified for ISO 45001:2018, a standard focused on occupational health and safety.

ISO 9001 provides a process-oriented approach to documenting and reviewing the structure, responsibilities and procedures needed to achieve effective quality management in an organization. Organizations use this standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO 45001 was first published in 2018 to replace the older OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) 18001:2007 and specifies the requirements for an occupational health and safety management system. Reducing occupational health and safety risks and preventing workplace accidents is one of the most important challenges that businesses face on a day-to-day basis and this standard provides guidance and procedures to help organizations create safe workplaces.

Workers on Greenbuddies project site

“As standards involving product/product/service quality evolve, the perception of companies involved in implementing quality systems is shifting. Quality is no longer just about product quality, but also includes systems relating to workplace safety, the company’s impact on its environment and the overall social responsibility of the company,” says Ing. Tomáš Pokorný, Senior Partner at e-ISO a.s. “The motivation for obtaining a certified system has also changed significantly. When a company operates in multiple international markets, a certified system is then a clear advantage, as many national regulations are based on international ISO standards. An example is the VCA occupational safety certification process in the Netherlands, which essentially incorporates elements of ISO 9001 and ISO 45001. For companies that supply their products to multiple international markets, certification to international standards is then a necessity,” he adds.

In Benelux, it is common practice to assess the safety risks of PV construction both on the roof and in the field using the VCA method. Our project managers and construction managers have been certified as VCA or its German equivalent SGU at the level of Operational Supervisers. The installers can get by with Basic Elements of Safety.

For Greenbuddies, certification is a tool for adjusting internal processes and improving our position in the market, where the company often meets the criteria for winning contracts thanks to these standards. In the future we also plan to obtain the ISO 14001 certification, which is an elegant tool for managing the environmental impact of the company’s activities. Through this, the company demonstrates its commitment to pollution prevention, compliance with legal requirements and continuous improvement of its environmental management system, saving energy and material resources.

What is the future of the European Union on the global battery market?

Battery technologies are one of the pillars of the energy transition. Batteries make it possible to electrify the transportation sector and integrate renewable energy into the energy mix. These two areas of development are at the heart of the European Union’s strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

The global energy storage market is booming. By 2025, stationary battery storage capacities and sales of lithium-ion batteries for automobiles should jump compared to 2020 by 450% to 78 GWh and 390% to 700 GWh respectively. In terms of value, the European market alone could represent 250 billion euros per year from 2025, according to the figures used by the European Commission. In addition to this, the battery is a strategic issue for the automotive industry:          it represents between 30 and 40% of the price of an electric vehicle.

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The market remains highly dependent on government support in the automotive and stationary storage sectors. Lowering the cost of storage solutions is the best way to achieve a sustainable growth. This cost reduction depends mainly on innovation and economies of scale. Battery manufacturers are investing heavily in new production capacity and research. Innovation efforts are also important among integrators. Operators are also preparing to deal with growing constraints in terms of environmental impact and integration into a circular economy approach. A constraint that harbors many development opportunities through the reuse of used batteries and recycling.

The electrification of transportation could reverse the balance of power in the global automotive market in favor of China and accelerate European deindustrialization.

Nearly three-quarters of global battery cell production capacity was located in China in 2019. This industrial dominance goes further and extends to the manufacturing of key battery cell components: two-thirds of production of cathode and anode are in China. China has also established itself upstream in the value chain. Batteries are at the heart of a new geopolitics of raw materials. Chinese mining companies have made significant overseas acquisitions to secure their supplies.

The European Union is now facing multiple challenges. The battery production will have to be competitive in order to withstand the Chinese competition. The recyclability of batteries remains a major objective. Finally, there is hope that new chemicals under development could potentially disrupt the global market. The development of a European battery industry is therefore a priority to enable the EU to ensure its energy transition and defend its economic interests.

Account Manager for Benelux

Greenbuddies Energy BV in the Netherlands has celebrated its first year of existence. Within that year, the team has grown significantly, especially in order to serve our partner in development of PV plants, SENS Energy. In addition to this, the contracting market in the Netherlands also needs a lot of attention, so we have decided to add an Account Manager, who would be dedicated to this booming market.

Siem Kompier has joined the team in October and has successfully taken over the agenda from Jos Schlagen, who manages the company in Eindhoven. His target market is not only in Holland, but he is responsible for developing the market in Belgium and Luxembourg. You can read a short Q&A about Siem below:

What has surprised you most about working with Greenbuddies?

What has surprised me most about working with Greenbuddies is the quantity of stakeholders who are involved in the whole process of delivering projects. Excellent communication between all parties is necessary to execute a project successfully. 

Besides that, the amount of confidence and independence that was given to me has been, to my surprise, exceeding my expectations. The working environment can be described as an informal yet result driven – one that is always ready for a beer to kick start the weekend.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

The most challenging thing about my job as an account manager is to communicate the correct message, find the right people, and transform this into a reliable partnership. 

Secondly, as a newcomer in the solar industry, it has proven to be quite difficult to completely understand all the technical and operational elements off the process in a short timeframe.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I consider myself as an active and social individual that has a variety of hobbies. I work out 4 times a week in the gym, and I play soccer 2 times a week. In the summer I like to cruise with my motorcycle to beautiful locations with my friends and I also really really love to travel. And finally, I like to drink beer.

How would (someone) describe you?

My friends and family would describe me as a social person, that is very open, honest, and sincere. Moreover, I am very straightforward, which means that sometimes it would be a better idea to be a little bit more strategical in my word of choice. However, this does not take away my great sense of humor.