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Latest news, insights and events for students
Latest news, insights and events for students
Latest news, insights and events for students

Alumni start-up – Solcor Portugal – brings no cost, no risk, solar energy to companies

Solar technology is one of the easiest renewable energy technologies for a company to implement. Unused space – such as a rooftop – can quickly become a source for clean energy and savings by adding a solar installation. The only challenge holding most companies back is the high up-front investment costs. However, two EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems alumni are successfully helping companies in Portugal save on energy costs without any up-front Investment or risk! We spoke with co-founder Vincent Vangeel to hear how this exciting business model is spreading across Europe.

Great ideas spread

Solcor was originally started by two Belgians in Chile. They applied the business plan of installing a PV plant on a client’s rooftop for free – in exchange for a long-term contract to buy the cheaper, cleaner energy generated from them.


During his Master’s programme, Vincent did an internship at Solcor in Chile. The experience left Vincent with (as he puts it), “Two very good friends, and a strong interest in solar energy and renewable energy investments. Tommaso Mura, who has a strong engineering background, had already worked on a solar energy investment project in Portugal, and I have an economics and engineering background – so, while attending a seminar in Helsinki as part of the EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Sustainable Energy, we decided to pool expertise and start the company Solcor Portugal together!”


The two have worked hard to get the start-up off the ground: “One of the biggest milestones has been gaining our first two clients in Portugal, which happened almost simultaneously after about six long months of preparations, try-outs, and alterations. These installations are now up and running, and our clients are happy with their installation (and cost savings)! We foster close relationships with our clients, and both Tommaso and I are strongly involved in the development and investment of our installations, so each one is a big milestone for us. Currently, we are finishing the installation of 648 panels for a company in Castelo Branco, while starting the installation of 360 panels in Marinha Grande, Portugal. It’s exciting to help these companies not only increase the value of their brand and property but also save money from day one – instead of five years down the road.”

Europe’s start-up scene

When asked what makes the European market such a great place to start a business, Vincent says, “In general, European economies are stable, which is a good thing for any business. The customs union, with free movement of goods and people, and the common currency allow us to source materials not only from Portugal, but from other member states – such as Spain, Germany, and Italy. This free movement also facilitates the expansion of the business to other European countries.” A point well demonstrated by the spreading of this model.


In addition, the European Green Deal designed by the European Commission will provide countless opportunities for green energy initiatives across the continent. 

Studying at EIT InnoEnergy Master School

Vincent explains how his time in the programme has assisted him with his current success: “There are many things that I liked during my time in the programme, such as the involvement and close contact with professors, the real-life projects – and the freedom we were given within the scope of these projects. However, what I liked most was the people that I got to know and the friends I made from all over the world. Even with different ages, backgrounds, beliefs, habits, etc., we managed to all get along surprisingly well. I think because of our shared interest in sustainable energy and the feeling of togetherness created by being in a two-year ‘journey’ together, in some of the most amazing places in Europe. The most valuable takeaway was that the programme made me more flexible, adaptive, and independent – properties that help a lot when starting up a business, especially in another country with another language.”

Solcor Portugal and beyond

Vincent shares what’s next: ‘So far, we’ll have over 1 MW of installations in Portugal before the end of the year. We are even thinking about expanding outside of Portugal. In Europe, companies want to embrace solar, to use clean energy and make environmental consciousness part of their brand – and we’re dedicated to helping them accomplish that!”