Creating Something Special with Know-how

Interview with David Florez Meier, COO of the VODASUN® Group

VODASUN Solar Park in Wittenhagen
Wittenhagen in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: There, VODASUN constructed a solar park

In just under 13 years from 0 to 100: This sentence sums up the success story of the VODASUN® Group. As a comprehensive provider in the renewable energy sector, VODASUN is now active nationwide in Germany and is increasingly realizing very large projects such as the PV equipment for exhibition halls. We spoke with COO David Florez Meier, a VODASUN employee from the very beginning, about special projects, the challenges of Solar Package I, his joy in his work, and a wonderful company culture.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Meier, VODASUN was founded in 2011 and has since developed into a group consisting of eight companies - on the fast track, one might say. What were the important milestones in this process?

David Florez Meier: VODASUN was founded by Jakob Katzendobler. In 2018, managing director Frank Pistorius joined. Indeed, the company has worked its way up from the proverbial two-man operation and diversified over time: from pure plant construction to the operator of PV plants and own PV parks. Establishing a market presence in the renewable energy sector with a focus on B2B in Germany is an important point for us.

David Florez Meier, COO of the VODASUN® Group
David Florez Meier, COO of the VODASUN® Group

What seemed unimaginable to us a few years ago, we have achieved last year: We are now also realizing major projects like the Nuremberg Fair or the Messe Berlin as well as special projects like Meissen Porcelain or the Dresden Baths. Importantly, in this context, 2023 also saw the opening of another location in Berlin. We have always been very active in the new federal states, but now we are literally 'on site' there with a location – also against the backdrop of our continuous search for skilled professionals and creative minds. Very recently, in January, we moved within Berlin to our new offices in the historic Palais Havestadt.

VODASUN Trade Fair Nuremberg
PV equipment of the Nuremberg Trade Fair with 10,000 solar modules and a total output of 4.5 MWp. CO2 savings per year: 2160 t
VODASUN Fair Nuremberg
VODASUN Trade Fair Nuremberg

Wirtschaftsforum: A remarkable development. What do you see as the reasons for the company's success?

David Florez Meier: The PV sector has existed for about 20 years. We have been active in this sector for more than half of that time and have established ourselves in the market as a company that delivers high quality and implements projects in a customer-oriented manner. We find solutions that are economical and ecological for the customer and do not shy away from deviating from the standard, i.e., special projects. Also, by gradually building up a very well-trained team, we have positioned ourselves well in the market.

Wirtschaftsforum: What exactly does your range of services include, which segments do you cover? Do you work exclusively B2B, or do you also work for private clients?

David Florez Meier: We see ourselves as an all-round provider in the field of renewable energies because energy concepts usually do not stop with PV but also include issues such as storage, wall boxes, water heating, etc. That's why it's a bigger topic than just PV. Energy management is also becoming increasingly important to customers. Our focus is generally on the B2B business, but we also offer private customers the opportunity to opt for renewable energies, however, initially only for the federal states of Bavaria, Berlin, and Brandenburg. This depends on where we have our own electrical master craftsmen or partner companies, so it has regional reasons.

VODASUN Agricultural Operation without Pv System
An agricultural estate in Reichenwalde before...
VODASUN Agricultural Business with PV System
and afterwards. Equipped with a PV system, such roof surfaces have enormous CO2 savings potential

Wirtschaftsforum: When we talk about storage: Here the competition seems to be increasing, as many companies are getting into this topic that previously had little to do with PV.

David Florez Meier: You are right. Especially in the B2C market, about 70% of the installations are equipped with storage. We are working together with Huawei because we get everything from one source there: inverters, storage, and charging stations, as well as operation via app. For our customers and us, this is the easiest and we have had very good experiences with it, also in terms of quality. In the B2B market, the topic of storage is just starting to pick up, in our view. This is because electricity prices for the industry were very low for a long time and now, due to the massive increases in electricity prices, action must really be taken.

Wirtschaftsforum: How do you view the situation of your market for 2024 and perhaps beyond? What measures do you expect from politics in this context?

David Florez Meier: The Solar Package I is supposed to be adopted soon. I don't want to say that it looms over us like the sword of Damocles, because there are also several facilitations in it, especially regarding plant certification. On the other hand, politics decides through its legislation which areas gain relevance. The fact is: the compensation will go down in February due to the high installation rates. There are still many points that could be significantly improved, starting with the tender volume for larger plants. It is a pity when such projects often just lie idle and cannot be realized, even though one would like to push forward the energy transition or, in our case, be part of the energy transition.

VODASUN - Roof without PV system
Own electricity: Using the roof space via a PV system can significantly reduce operating costs: before...
VODASUN - Roof with PV system
...and afterwards
VODASUN - Project in Hoyerswerda
In the new federal states, VODASUN is very active: above a project in Hoyerswerda

Wirtschaftsforum: What motivates you personally in your work?

David Florez Meier: Above all, it brings me a lot of joy. I am essentially an employee from the very beginning and have accompanied the development of VODASUN from the start. I am attracted to special projects: For example, the Messe Berlin with nearly 20,000 modules is one of them. Also, bespoke solutions like a zero feed-in, where no electricity is allowed into the grid because the grid is already overloaded. Therefore, the electricity must be used on site. Such specific challenges are fun for me. Besides that, I am very proud of our team. We have a great, open corporate culture, to which everyone contributes their part. Here, everyone helps each other – I think that's wonderful!