We accumulate practical experience at our expense

Engineer Rosimir Stanchev Mateev, Manager of STS Solar:

STS Solar is established in the beginning of 2007 with the idea that in the near future the solar power will become one of the major power sources. The company’s aim is to offer the clients that future today – to serve the investors, who see new possibilities in the production of ecologically clean and renewable power.

The company is proud to have a team of excellent professionals, leaders in the innovations and in the realization of different avant-garde projects.

Originally the company works in the field of electronics and automatization – it develops and introduces inductive sensors in the production. Through the years the fields of activity is expanding, and the number of companies that carry in their name the letters STS is growing: STS Holding Group Ltd, STS Invest Holding Group, STS Cosmetics LLC, Biochema LLC, STS Trade Ltd, STS Invest Holding SC, STS Trans Ltd, STS Print SC, STS Bora Ltd, STS Electronics Ltd, Mechatronica SC, Polyflex Ltd, STS PACK Holding SC, Quattro cosmetics SC, Burhani STS Industries (PVT) Ltd, STS Solar SC, STS Soft SC, STS Finance SC, as well as many enterprises with different subject of activity in Bulgaria, Russia, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Poland, Spain and USA.

- Mr. Mateev, having in mind the increased interest in the solar technologies, what is the specificity that puts its mark on STS Solar and distinguishes you from the other companies?

- Maybe the main difference between STS Solar and our competitors is that we have huge resources at our disposal. We started our business with vigour – we have not suffered any lack of money, lack of land, buildings or high-qualified staff. In the summer of the last year we spent about 300 thousand levs (BGN) fresh money to buy solar equipment with the purpose to experiment. Then we performed large-scale tests with invertors and modules from different kinds of technologies and from different producers, as well as with different kinds of constructions. Our purpose was to accumulate sufficient knowledge and practical experience in every aspect of the solar technology field. How we are supposed to design and build a power station for the client and how we are supposed to sell him equipment, if we have only seen it in the pictures of the prospects. This is typical of us – we do not experiment with the clients’ power stations. We perform experiments only at our own expense. But that costs a lot of money. We have, for example, purchased modules which turned out to be spurious. What if we have purchased them for a client? We also have come across bad quality invertors and fabric constructions which are very weak and are just not suitable for our services. In fact we make a selection in our practice of every component and we examine and improve every aspect with the one and only purpose – the power stations of our clients to become perfect.

The other thing that distinguishes us is our openness. We don’t hide information which we have reached with many efforts and means. We don’t carry out a “secrecy” policy. We are not afraid that someone will steal our job, but just the opposite – we carry out a total openness policy and you can see that in our internet forums in the STS Solar site. Up to the present moment it is extremely popular – it is visited and read by many people with interests in solar technologies – from university students to ministers and members of the parliament. And that forum is another illustration that comes to prove that we give knowledge that costs us a lot of money for free. Maybe a precondition for that is the fact that I have reached a stage when I can allow myself to work more for fun, than for money. That radically changes the way I look at the business as it is. When I build a power station I want it to be perfect and to make me proud, I’ m not thinking of money.

- What are the main conclusions of the tests you performed?

- We start with the choice of modules. There are all kinds of modules and every producer vaults his own products. Thanks to the tests we learned which modules are better and which of them give worse power production. It turns out that some of the producers have no scruples to write incorrect things and to beat about the bush. For example, with some brands of positioners the producers get to the point of giving indexes calculated on a hot sunny summer day basis. And if you calculate the average for the whole calendar year it turns out that the indexes radically differ. If it happens that you build your business plan according to the parameters presented by the producer – you are left deceived and your calculation does not come out as you have planned. But in order to understand that we bought positioners for ten thousand Euros so that we can wait for a whole year, measure the different indexes, and then finally draw our own calculations of the actual quantity of additional dedicated power. Of course, that quantity comes out to be less than the praises of the producers.

We also tried out different modules and different types of constructions. We even get to such details that we made the analysis to see whether the bolts rust and how the construction legs have to be painted in order to sustain as mush time as possible. We drew our attention to everything – even birds that like to alight on the upper rim of the constructions and soil the upper cell i.e. this also has to be reported and avoided. They are all things that you won’t find in books.

The list of the purchases is long and each one of them is reported during the building of the client’s power station. That is why we have the confidence that we are a solar company which has accumulated the biggest possible practical experience in each aspect.

Our mission, the way I feel it in my heart, is to find the best solution for the client. The best in the price–quality correlation. To remove the possibilities of errors. And our final product to be our pride for long years to come. STS Solar looks at the far future. We don’t look for a quick profit today. We only want to have as many satisfied clients as possible. That policy sooner or later will requite and will make STS Solar a leader of the solar technologies in Bulgaria.

- Do you have the ambition to start a production of modules?

- Not only do we have the ambition, but we also have the resources. We are waiting to see the development of the market.

Then we are going to produce monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules. The thin layer modules are cheaper. But if a power station is to be evaluated in general: with cables, constructions, land, work, and maintenance – the advantages of the low cost is melted. In a short-term period maybe there is parity, but in a long-term period – I firmly believe that the mono- and polycrystalline modules will survive. There are some doubts about them too, but at least we know that the space satellites are built of such cells – they are there for decades and are still working. So if we have to invest, we will start with the production of such modules. The other modules may also turn out to be good but at that moment this is not proved. This is my personal believe, based on my experience.

- Since you plan to start the production, obviously you are optimistic about the development of solar technologies?

- I’m not optimistic about the development of solar technologies; I’m pessimistic about the presence of liquid fuels. There are no two ways about it – they are coming to an end. And we cannot switch from petroleum to hydrogen in one day.

The transition of mankind from one type of power to another will continue for at least four decades and in order for it to happen easily and painlessly, the transition should have started 10-15 years ago.

Let us not mention the ecological aspect – the things there are clear and there is no hesitation.

And on the current stage, if we look at it globally, the problem is not that the renewable sources are expensive, the problem is that the petroleum and the coal are cheap. If we look back at the history of mankind, ten thousand years ago (and let us hope – million of years in future), what would we see? In the history of man only several generations, including ours, have overreach to consume all the available nature resources – all of the liquid fuels, all of the coals, all of the uranium! We are one extremely spoiled generation that wasted the resources of the planet for a very short period of time, making the lives of our children and grandchildren hard and unhappy. If we think in that aspect – we are thieves of their future. Our generation will certainly go down in history as the planet’s murderer. We have to limit ourselves in the nature resource consumption. And to restore what we have damaged and polluted.

Maybe the politicians are afraid that a boom in the renewable sources application will lead to higher price of power for the user. But the increase will be insignificant. And with a good educational campaign people will comprehend that the stotinka given today is invested in the future of their own children.

Mankind has to reorganize the power engineering. Sooner or later it will turn to the sun as to the only practically limitless power source.

- What are the main obstacles for the application of solar technologies in Bulgaria?

- This a serious question that requires another discussion. But I have to draw a general conclusion with a single word – that is the bureaucracy. Paradoxes take place sometimes. For example, the news for subsidiaries provided under measures 311, 312, and 321 instead of stimulating the development of solar business it practically paralyzed it. Because people are waiting but there are still no subsidiaries. There is a postponement – from February to March, from March to April, then to May, September, October, and finally to January.

And in all that waiting – from companies that have to build solar power stations, we become companies that prepare documentations for subsidiaries.

Another problem is the authorization. A power station with 1 or 2 KW power cannot be listed as a third category site. And its legalization should not be moved in a zigzag way between Territorial Structure Act (the municipalities) and the power distribution companies. The steps to legalization are more than 10 and the period of time for the responses of the instances for each one of them is at least 1 month. If you sum that up, the process can take you more than two years and only if the legal terms are observed.

And last but not least, the low purchase prices. Even Macedonia gave higher prices than those defined by the Bulgarian State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission. This is enough to speak for itself alone.