'We have a solid growth pipeline'

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, August 09, 2022
'We have a solid growth pipeline'

US investment fund manager Augment Infrastructure is set to invest 460mn reais (US$90mn) in Órigo Energia, the Brazilian company announced recently.

With this investment, Augment will become one of the main shareholders of Órigo, along with other investors including TPG ART, MOV Investimentos and Mitsui.

Focused on distributed generation (DG), Órigo Energia projects that it will have made cumulative investments of 4bn reais through 2024, when it expected to reach generation capacity of 1GWp and 500,000 clients.

Órigo's CEO, Surya Mendonça, talks to BNamericas about the company's projects and business perspectives. 

BNamericas: Why did Órigo decide to invest such a significant amount in shared generation at this time?

Mendonça: We’re focused on shared generation and we’ve been doing this for a long time. We’re now expanding the scale and the number of states in which we operate. We build the solar farms and we need investments, either via equity or third-party financing. 

We’re in a very comfortable period for investors thanks to the new regulatory framework [of distributed generation, approved in January].

Editor's note: Shared generation is one of the modalities of DG, allowing the sharing of energy from micro or mini generation among a group of individuals or companies. 

BNamericas: Why do you believe Órigo has attracted the interest of Augment Infrastructure?

Mendonça: Our business model is interesting, we invest in an ESG product, so there’s this attraction for international investors. And we have a solid growth pipeline, a very good team, more than 50,000 clients. We’re a benchmark in the market. 

Today we have more than 150MWp in three states: Minas Gerais, Pernambuco and São Paulo. We’re accelerating to grow through the end of the year, reaching 250MWp. In 2021, we doubled in size and this year we’ll do it again. The plan is to reach 1GWp in two or three years. 

It’s very difficult to do business in turbulent environments, so I’m happy that we closed this deal, attracting a foreign investor in the middle of the war in Ukraine and the presidential elections in Brazil. It’s a serious project, with serious people involved. 

BNamericas: Do you think about working with other energy sources besides solar?

Mendonça: Our focus is on distributed generation with solar energy. Our expertise is solar, it’s our DNA. 

BNamericas: How do the increases in the dollar against the real and rising interest rates impact business? The solar panels are mostly produced in China … 

Mendonça: We need to be more efficient in the face of change, offsetting some losses with other gains. There are days when the dollar helps and other days when it hinders. 

BNamericas: What’s the profile of Órigo's clients? Do you intend to diversify your client portfolio?

Mendonça: We’re a retail company, focused on residential clients and small businesses. Even in places where we have stronger performance, such as Minas Gerais, we’re always educating the market. In Ceará, distributed generation is more of a novelty than in Minas, but we already know how to work the novelty. 

Distributed generation is our focus, so as we can expand our portfolio of services, we’ll do so. 

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