His entrepreneurial spirit dates from his college days. Approximately five years after funding it, he has sold Metronetwork, an internet and cable firm based in Buzău, for the sum of 500,000 Euros. Shortly after, he started a new business: production of solar panels. Silviu Iordache, aged 31, funded Panosol Power in 2012, as part of a project financed by European funds through Measure 312, ‘Support to the creation and development of micro-entreprises’ of RDP, consisting in a total of 300,000 Euros without VAT, of which 200,000 are non-repayable. The young businessman from Buzau now manages a plant of 3,000 square meters, located in Spătaru (Buzău). After the company’s turnover reached 200,000 Euros in 2013, his revenue guidance for this year comes around one million Euros.
Currently, the plant in Buzău produces a few hundred solar panels and thermal boilers each month, part of these (around 10%-15%) destined for European markets, on account of the contracts signed after the company’s participation at several international fairs. Iordache is convinced he will meet the target he has set for this year, because his plant is among the few similar businesses locally, and there are only 30 companies with a similar profile left in Europe. But, ‘the biggest competition comes from China, from where very cheap and rather poor quality products arrive,’ as the young entrepreneur insists. Iordache also mentions that his company holds 40% of the local market and that the plant only operates at 50% of its capacity at the time being.
According to him, the sales process includes distributors in some of the wealthier cities in Romania, as Bucharest, Iaşi, Constanţa or Râmnicu Vâlcea, who make sure that his products end up in home improvement and do-it-yourself hypermarkets. 5% of the total sales volumes come through the online shop. Recently, the company delivered to a distributor 40 large units for a big solar park in Iaşi, which will provide the necessary hot water for a meat processing plant, and other 30 such large units to the hospital in Slobozia. The smallest solar panel that the company has ever produced has only 12 tubes and costs approximately 1,100 lei (one tube has a capacity of 10 liters), while the biggest has 30 tubes and sells around 3,000 lei.
New projects involving European money
‘We also intend to access European funds for Research and Development, in a project of 100,000 Euros, which will enable us to develop new products. Besides, we are in the phase of acquisitions (equipment and other infrastructure) in a smaller project of only 30,000 Euros, also through RDP, but this time involving the Local Action Group, which will enable us to diversify our product line. Apart from solar panels and thermal boilers, we want to produce storing vessels for hot water. European funding will cover 85% of this project’s cost,’ told us Silviu Iordache. The young businessman maintains that he would not have succeeded in building his business without accessing European funds.