October 2010 /

In an abundant French solar market, with a deluge of power plant projects and company creations, the Paris start-up NTF Energy has chosen to stand out with a “haute couture” positioning in the built-in segment. She raised nearly a million euros to get started and is preparing a new fundraiser.

“Two types of players will emerge: major energy companies developing major power plants and niche players with high added value,” said Maurice Khawam, co-founder and president of the company, created at the end of 2009. We want to carry out complex projects, such as solar roofs on buildings whose structures are to be strengthened or which must be dismantled. These high-tech sites are not profitable enough for large energy companies.”

Long-term partnerships with landowners

To succeed, NTF Energy wants to build a network of specialized subcontractors and establish long-term partnerships with large landowners, such as retirement homes or clinics, who want to build on their real estate assets. “We are committed to at least 20 years: we need solid partners,” says Christophe Cusson, co-founder and director of financing.

Ideally, the landowner does not just collect a rent in exchange for the rental of his roofs, but enters the capital of the project company as a minority. This is the case for one of the first projects completed by NTF Energy with a Vendée industrialist who took 5% of the capital. Two other projects have been signed, one with a family company managing equestrian parks in Charente-Maritime and the other with a property development group.

To get started, NTF Energy has raised nearly one million euros from private investors through the NexTFund fund, of which Maurice Khawam is also president. Management is the majority in the capital.

The company, which employs six people, targets a portfolio of 15 MW under management at the end of 2011 via a dozen plants, representing a portfolio value of approximately 50 million euros. To reach its objectives, it plans to raise another 9 million by the end of 2011.