Pan-European team expansion
Samuel Benelbas is Alight’s new Head of Behind the Meter product & PPA structuring. He is based in Madrid, Spain, and has +12 years’ experience from banking and financial structuring, as well as co-founding a fintech company and a real estate fund. Samuel holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from CUNEF and is currently doing an Executive MBA at IESE Business School.
At Alight, Samuel will manage the behind the meter product development and the PPA structuring across Europe. As an avid learner based in Madrid, Spain, Samuel speaks English and Spanish and is currently learning Swedish through an app (!) Let’s hear more about Samuel and the future of the BtM market as he sees it.
Welcome to the team, Sam! Tell us a bit more about your background?
– Thank you! My background is mainly in banking and financial structuring, as after graduating university I went straight to UBS Investment Bank’s Leveraged Finance team in London. I then moved to Equity Derivatives in New York for a total of seven years at UBS. Having two sons, I decided to move back to Spain where I co-founded a fintech company (Arbor, which is going strong), a proptech company and a real estate fund.
How did you encounter Alight and why did you decide to join the company?
– I have recently been working as a contractor in the renewable energy space, and through a common contact I was introduced to Alight. I started consulting for Alight early in 2021, which allowed me to really get to know the company, team, culture and mission. I am a firm believer in doing the right thing, but it has to be economically sustainable. Alight is helping improve the world we live in – and in a profitable manner, which makes it scalable and hence real change can be achieved.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
– I am learning all the time, this is key to my role in order to keep up to date with what clients need and hence providing the best solution possible, adding value across each conversation we have with them. A fun challenge is to organize the roll-out in many different geographies at the same time.
How do you see the European BtM market expanding going forward?
– The European BtM market is nascent and is going to grow very quickly as a result of 5 main factors: 1) Savings: BtM solar PPAs can be priced under grid electricity prices, 2) Security: BtM solar provides our customers with a second source of supply in case of grid curtailments. It also provides security in financial budgets and forecasts as the price of electricity is known, 3) Social: As additionality gains importance in ESG policies, BtM solar is the easiest way for our commercial and industrial customers to comply with the most strict policies, 4) Sustainability: Customers with BtM solar are part of a distributed network of power producers who help reduce demand surges on the grid and dependence on natural gas, 5) Its future proof: BtM solar through a PPAs allows our clients to profit from having a partner that is looking to maximize the benefits of the plant, retrofitting storage as it becomes cheaper, installing AI programmes that allow for grid services, etc. This will generate further savings for our BtM PPA customers and set them up for success in the future.
Lastly, what do you do when you don’t work?
– Mostly practice sports with my two sons or on my own, such as skiing, mountain biking and sailing. Also, I love reading in the garden!