Sungevity and E.ON Collaborate to Expand Solar Energy Business in Europe
Sungevity—a solar electricity company based in Oakland, California—is teaming up with German utility company E.ON Benelux to bring the solar company’s profitable brand of energy services to the Dutch market.
The partnership is focused primarily on the Netherlands, though the company plans to expand into other European markets and nations as well.
Recently, E.ON SE invested in Sungevity, contributing to the $70 million the company raised in new equity financing. Sungevity has high praise for its investors: “With E.ON and GE Ventures as equity investors, the Sungevity coalition now includes the world's largest investor-owned utility company, the company that built much of the planet's power infrastructure and one of the world's largest retailers,” said Andrew Birch, Sungevity's Chief Executive Officer. "That lineup combined with our customer-centric technology platform and the capitalization from this investment round positions Sungevity to be the leading global solar brand."
A press release from the company elaborated further on the deal:
To facilitate its European expansion, Sungevity has converted its minority stake in Dutch solar startup Zonline to full ownership. Sungevity will retain and expand the Zonline workforce, including CEO Frank Goovaerts and founder Roebyem Anders, and rebrand the company as Sungevity Netherlands. The new entity will serve as Sungevity’s European headquarters, and will manage and support the solar services provided to E.ON customers as well as other Sungevity customers acquired through separate marketing initiatives and partnerships. Sungevity’s acquisition of Zonline closed on May 22, 2014.
E.ON customers purchasing Sungevity’s services will reap the benefits of Sungevity’s remote solar design capabilities and proprietary iQuote instant quoting technology that eliminates the need for upfront site visits through the use of satellite imagery and aerial photography. Quotes include estimated cost savings over conventional energy sources based on buyers’ historical consumption rates.
“E.ON is in the business of servicing energy customers across several countries, and as new, more customer-centric solutions around residential solar arise, we want to provide our customers with the best solutions available,” said Susana Quintana-Plaza, Vice President, Technology & Innovation/Strategic Co-Investment at E.ON SE. “Our capital investment in Sungevity’s technology and customer-centric platform is a significant part of this.”
In addition to E.ON and GE Ventures, Sungevity received investment funds from Jetstream Ventures, which Sungevity describes as “a Nashville-based fund focused on long-term investment in private companies using technology to achieve environmental and social impact.” Justifiably, Sungevity has high hopes and big plans for its newly acquired capital.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.