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Are you a potential renewable energy exporter?

13 export tips for renewable energy companies

More and more Norwegian companies are exporting goods and services for international renewable energy projects. But we want even more! We have therefore collected practical tips to help potential exporters in the solar, wind, hydroelectric and bioenergy sectors.

More and more Norwegian companies are exporting goods and services for international renewable energy projects. But we want even more! We have therefore collected practical tips to help potential exporters in the solar, wind, hydroelectric and bioenergy sectors.

  1. Decide where to focus

Most businesses cannot afford to invest everywhere. Go after the low-hanging fruit first. Norwegian Energy Partners (NORWEP), the product of a recent merger between INTSOK and INTPOW, markets Norwegian energy industry abroad. NORWEP can help match your products to the needs of markets around the world.

  1. Refine your technology even further?

After you and NORWEP together have explored various international markets, you may well conclude that you need to further develop the products and services you offer.

You can take advantage of Innovation Norway’s environmental technology programme, which provides public financing to build pilot and demonstration plants, the Research Council’s ENERGIX programme, which provides public funding for R&D, or Enova, which supports industrial pilot plants and issues conditional loans to demonstrate new energy and climate technologies.

  1. Make use of local expertise

Once you’ve set your sights, and your products are ready for international markets, you can get lots of help establishing contacts, obtaining market analyses, identifying potential projects and navigating the market you want to invest in.

The marketing, business and technology advisors at Innovation Norway’s offices abroad have expertise, experience and valuable local networks, all of which can help your company exploit international market opportunities. Norway’s embassies can help too, with advice and access to authorities and local partners.

NORWEP has offices in many countries whose experienced advisors offer in-depth knowledge of the different markets, while Export Credit Norway and the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK) have up-to-date financial experience and useful networks around the world.

  1. Market yourselves locally

Be sure to market your products and services locally, so that potential customers get to know and trust your particular solution. NORWEP arranges seminars and workshops where Norwegian companies can show off their expertise and technologies to potential customers. At NORWEP’s networking meetings, you can discover what other companies have learned about specific markets and begin creating your own international networks.

  1. Check financing solutions available to your company

For a simple overview of the financing solutions your company can take advantage of, go to the website miljøteknologi.no. Under “Velg prosjekttype”, choose the option “Ut i verden”, and the relevant financing options will come into view.

  1. Learn the competitive advantages of export financing

Winning contracts abroad is a tough battle. Often you are competing with suppliers from lower-cost countries than Norway. But for many of your customers access to capital may be a challenge. By offering them favourable financing – in addition to the capital goods or services you are trying to sell ­– you provide them the means to contract with your company.

Export Credit Norway lends to companies that purchase goods and services from Norwegian exporters. Wonder how your business can benefit from export financing? Take a look at this video.

  1. Consider credit insurance to cover the risk of credit sales

If you supply customers on credit, you can guard against losses stemming from non-payment. Credit insurance can also be combined with factoring, so you will be the paid the contract value on delivery, even though settlement is far in the future. GIEK Kredittforsikring offers credit insurance for up to two years.

  1. Check import procedures in the markets you are considering

Exporting goods and services can be like navigating a minefield if you’re not familiar with the rules. Many countries have their own rules associated with import restrictions, sales contracts, product requirements, duties and fees, customs clearance, export documents, transport requirements, etc.

Make sure to familiarise yourself with the rules and restrictions before you bid on contracts. Innovation Norway has an excellent library with information on import terms and conditions and other national information for 194 different countries.

  1. Check rates of duty in target countries

Nothing is more gratifying than winning an export contract. And almost nothing is more annoying than watching your project margins be eaten up by import duties and fees you forgot to calculate.

Check out the rates of duty, then, even before you bid on a project. Innovation Norway has a rich database of the applicable import duties and fees as well as general and special document requirements, import licenses (if any) on the item in question, and existing quotas or other import requirements that must be satisfied.

  1. Check country risk

Many countries are virtually risk-free to export into, while others have their challenges. Both Export Credit Norway and GIEK’s advisors can assist in assessing country risk.

In a country assessment we look at the overall payment risk in the country. The assessment includes economic and political factors influencing whether a country can and will respect its international payment obligations. Such factors may include foreign exchange shortages, war, civil war, expropriation, suspension of payments, transfer barriers or trade restrictions (such as import or export bans). The assessment extends to other factors that could bear on a country’s ability to pay, with special interest paid to broad economic trends.

An OECD cooperative arrangement (and agreement) has led to the development of an econometric model covering some 140 countries. The resulting assessments can be found along with much else on GIEK’s website.

The World Bank also provides free, downloadable “Ease of Doing Business” reports that provide useful insight into the business climate in most countries of the world.

  1. Run background checks

Many countries are less transparent than Norway, so it is always important to conduct background checks of local partners or representatives.

NORWEP provides anti-corruption advisory support. The organisation’s partners also receive up to a day’s worth of free anti-corruption legal advice. NORWEP can also assist with legal background checks of local sales representatives.

  1. See if you can use the simplified export financing loan application

Once you have identified a project you want to bid on, and you think it will be helpful to offer financing to the prospective client in addition to your goods or services, you should check to see if the project qualifies for a simplified loan application.

GIEK and Export Credit Norway have introduced a “simplified application” for all exporters seeking an export contract of less than NOK 100 million. A single application is submitted for review by the two agencies, which then make a joint offer. That way you land the contract quicker. We call it solid financing the easy way.

Please note that project finance, i.e. securing credit with future cash flow from the project to be built, normally cannot be finalised using simplified loan documentation. In such cases Export Credit Norway applies international project finance lending standards.

  1. Apply for funding before entering into contract

You must apply for export financing before entering into a contract.

Remember as well that export financing is end-customer financing. That means if the end-customer is a project (solar, wind, hydropower) a certain degree of Norwegian content is required for it to qualify for export financing.

To help export companies understand the export finance process, Export Credit Norway has prepared an easily comprehensible overview of six steps to export financing.

Export Credit Norway’s advisors will pilot you safely through the different steps towards what we hope will be a lucrative export contract for your company.

Good luck!

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