CSP Today has exclusively interviewed Joaquim Fajula, CEO at OCA International, a subsidiary of the OCA Group.
This family business develops testing, inspection and certification services for solar thermal projects and is currently working on KaXU Solar One, Khi Solar One and Bokpoort CSP plants in South Africa.
How did you start working in the CSP industry?
We have worked in Spain since the beginning operating alongside the pioneers of the CSP industry. That has given us extensive experience and knowledge. More recently, a good Spanish client who was working on a project of CSP in South Africa invited us to participate with him. From then onwards, we realized the positive potential for CSP in South Africa and globally. This was our first opportunity to develop our services in this field outside of Spain. Now we are organized to provide our services efficiently in practically every country in the world.
What does the CSP industry mean for you?
For us, the CSP industry is a clear opportunity . CSP is strengthening in emerging economies with problems in their energy infrastructure. I am sure that other emerging countries like India will be a great opportunity for the industry in the near future. Emerging markets will be key for us when positioning ourselves internationally.
Testing, inspection and certification Institutions like yours are not well known in the world of CSP. What do they offer?
Our industry may not be known but we operate in virtually all areas of the daily life of a person or activity. Everyone requires someone to ensure that their equipment is technically correct or that its activities do not incur more risk than anticipated. From OCA INTERNATIONAL we offer testing, inspection and certification services for all phases of a CSP project: we perform verifying design, procurement, construction and even the operation of the plants. We also provide QA / QC (Quality Assurance / Quality Control) for the property.
And with these activities, which value do you provide to your clients?
Through these activities, we assure our clients that nothing is left to chance and that costs do not sky-rocket. We assure our clients that all contractors comply with the specifications and quality requirements. In other cases we assure that these purchases or activities are technically implemented in the expected time and shape. We test the stress of equipment before putting them into service, and assist start-ups as verifiers of the procedure. Undoubtedly this always creates value for our customers, as we reduce the risk, optimize processes and ensure the timing of delivery. This safeness transforms into profitability and savings.
How was OCA INTERNATIONAL born?
OCA Group has a global corporate culture. OCA INTERNATIONAL is the subsidiary of the group responsible for managing the international business. OCA Group is a Spanish group, a leader in the testing, inspection and certification industry. It was born in late 2010 in as an alternative response to the traditional companies in the sector. We believe that the current times require changes in all industries, including CSP. Our goal is that our clients –to control risks- increasingly see us as partners and not merely as suppliers.
In the OCA GROUP, we have over 30 years of experience with young talents. This is our cornerstone! We are a group with energy, enthusiasm, optimism and eager to work and grow. We love what we do.
You are a group born in the middle of one of the biggest world economic crisis we can remember, did it influence you?
Absolutely! However, the adverse effect was only short lived. It is obvious that starting a project of this size in turbulent times is not easy. But if we think more long-term, I think that the influence is certainly positive. We started growing with a structure close to our business, –with the culture that our customer is everything. We have adapted to changing times, with a constant search for innovation in all processes. This can only have a positive influence.
Does being a family business differentiate you?
We think so. Being a young family business differentiates us in the sense that the whole team is focused on the service we provide. The projects of our clients are our projects! Furthermore, our organization –with a very flat structure- makes decisions much faster. This allows us to evolve and react faster. From our perspective this certainly translated into a greater service.