Spanish renewable power provider Holaluz Clidom SA (BME:HLZ) has announced plans to cut 200 jobs at its solar installation service, citing a slowdown in the residential solar market amid high interest rates and a “false impression” that energy prices moderated.
The layoff will affect solar panel installers, sales teams and solar operations support roles, Holaluz said, noting that the context is marked by a slower pace of residential installations in Spain in 2023 compared to Germany or the Netherlands.
According to Holaluz, residential customers have been hesitant to invest in solar panels due to high interest rates and being under a false impression that energy prices have moderated, when it was the Spanish government that intervened in pricing through temporary measures, including value-added tax reduction. The ability of oil-and-gas companies to offer energy well below the market price has further influenced the public’s decision-making.
The Barcelona-based renewable energy trader installs solar panels as part of its strategy to promote green distributed generation and offers to buy surplus of solar electricity from its customers. It used to sell gas until about a year ago, when it pulled the plug on gas retail due to high prices for customers.
The decision to reduce the headcount came two weeks after Holaluz reported normalised EBITDA of EUR 5.9 million (USD 6.4m) at the end of the third quarter, following a EUR-5.4-million EBITDA loss for the first six months. The company said that reaching the break-even point after nine months led it to reiterate guidance for the low range of the normalised EBITDA target for 2023.
With Spain’s residential solar market shrinking by 25% to 50% in 2023, as Holaluz says, the company expects to close the current fiscal year with a number of installations comparable to 2022, contrary to market forecasts of a record-breaking year.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.085)