Articol publicat pe site-ul BURSA On Line, ediția din 03.06.2009
Romania could produce enough energy to power half of Europe


      "Birta Group" is present on the solar panel market

     "Birta" has been present on the Romanian market since 1991. Ioan Birta, the Chairman/General Manager of the company, said: "Among other things, in 1993, we brought the Nokia brand to Romania, and launched a huge plan for promoting mobile telephony on the Romanian market. No one believed in Romania"s potential to absorb a new technology that quickly. I did and I was right. In this particular respect, Romania"s mobile telephony coverage has exceeded not only Hungary"s, but Germany"s as well".

     "Birta", created in 1991, with German capital exclusively, is a family business. Ioan Birta returned to Romania after having lived and worked for 20 years in Germany. He said: "My entire family returned to Romania because the country has a bright future ahead. It is the largest country in Central and Eastern Europe, after Poland, and has an extraordinary travel and hydrographical potential".

     "Birta" is now the general distributor of German group Kago, the largest producer of renewable energy equipment. The two companies are running the program "Heat for Europe", for Romania. This program revolves exclusively around "green" energy.

     "We entered this market segment because it is both interesting and important at the same time. Renewable energy is free, ecological and will soon be vital. Oil and gas will become extremely expensive and what"s more, according to experts" estimates they will disappear in a few decades. is involved in solar energy and photovoltaic cells. Austria and France use wind energy and solar panels, for energy, heating and warm water. Within 15 years, Romania will have solar panels and wind farms everywhere, or it will die".

     "Birta" has discussed with the General Mayor of Bucharest to obtain a new 10x10 m space in the center of the city, in order to place a mobile glass construction, designed by the German group Kago. This will be powered by electricity produced using photovoltaic elements and heated using solar panels. The project called "Casa Gemini", will be made in cooperation with an Austrian company, following an EUR 250000 investment.

     Ioan Birta said that due to its unique nature, this location would not only be a reference point for renewable energy, but also a way of educating people about alternative energy sources. Since April, "Birta" has yet to receive an answer from the mayoralty.

     "Birta" completed the first solar heating plants in Slănic Moldova, which were later followed by the ones in Timișoara, Lupac etc. From March to October, an entire household can produce its own warm water using solar energy, thus cutting its gas bills by 45%. The company has 22 projects scheduled for this year: greenhouses, farming cooperatives, hotels in Bucharest, etc.

     Right now, all the equipment for making solar panels comes from German group Kago. In the next 2-3 years, "Birta" will build a factory for photovoltaic cells and solar panels in Romania.

     In 2008, the company had a turnover of EUR 3 million. "Birta" has 30 employees, and cooperates with several subcontractors, which cover the entire country: home and office builders, architects, consulting companies etc. Ioan Birta considers that his company won"t be affected by the crisis in 2009, because it has ongoing projects, but it is still trying to convincing people and officials of the local and central administration that solar panels are the future.

     He said: "Romania"s parliament is a large consumer of electrical and thermal energy: 22,000 Gcal/year. Its configuration is ideal for supporting solar panels. Following the initial investment, expenses would drop dramatically, and the investment would pay for itself very quickly. The same thing could be done by hotel owners, in particular in the area between Mamaia and Mangalia".

     Technology made by Kago is among the most advanced in the world. The raw materials it uses are virtually indestructible - aluminum, stainless steel, copper and bronze. The glass used for making the solar panels is the same type of glass used in for satellites. The cost of installing solar panels begins at EUR 4,000 for a 200 sqm family household and can go as high as EUR 50,000-60,000 for a large hotel.

     Ioan Birta considers that Romania must spend the European funds because it pays the EU ten times what it"s getting, due to the lack of projects and initiative.

     At the same time, "Birta" can also install a large array of fireplaces, made in France, Germany and Hungary. The fireplaces can be used when sunlight is not available and they run on gas, diesel oil or wood. If the market warrants it, Ioan Birta intends to produce the fireplaces in Romania as well. 
Tradus de Cosmin Ghidoveanu