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Published on July 6th, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson

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GE Amongst Massive Sungevity $15 Million Equity Financing

July 6th, 2013 by  

This article first appeared on RenewEconomy

Solar leasing firm Sungevity has attracted $15 million in new equity financing, including a major contribution from the world’s biggest maker of power-generation equipment, General Electric, as it develops plans to expand in new markets and with new products, including storage.

The investment by GE Ventures and other unidentified investors follows an earlier fundraising this year when Sungevity announced it had raised $125 million in venture capital and project financing, including cracking the mezzanine debt market for the first time.

Sungevity and other firms have pioneered the solar leasing model, which requires no deposit on rooftop solar systems, which have proved to be the most popular method of rooftop solar investment in the US, accounting for more than ¾ of sales in that country.

The company, co-founded by Australia’s Danny Kennedy, has since expanded into the Netherlands and Australia, and has more than doubled sales in the past 12 months. It also operates in 9 states in the US.

CEO Andrew Birch says the cost of solar continues to fall dramatically, and faster than predicted, and will soon be lower than average retail electricity prices across the US. It already is in several states.

“Our sales have doubled over the prior year and we are starting to see significant volume from Europe, with utility partnerships and customer referrals driving the uptake,” Birch said. “Our scalable model allows us to capitalize on new growth opportunities faster and with few dollars.”

GE Ventures senior executive director Colleen Calhoun said GE was attracted to Sungevity because of its sophisticated technology platform – where it does it sales online – its capital light business and strong potential for growth “as rooftop solar hits meaningful scale.”

Kennedy told RenewEconomy during a visit to Sungevity’s headquarters in Oakland, California, that Australian sales are ahead of expectations since its launch in March.

He said even though the Australian market had high penetration, the industry would not stop with panels on roofs – the next step would be to add storage and product mobility (read electric vehicles) to the offering.

“This will be a bundle of services. Rooftop solar is not just a single commodity piece of kit,” he said.

(We will have more on our interview with Kennedy next week). 
 
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About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.



  • Steeple

    So if $15 million is massive, how would we describe the $500 million dollar Solyndra debacle? Just asking.

    • Bob_Wallace

      As another George W. Bush failure.

    • DrewRL

      Solyndra made a really cutting-edge new product. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the plummeting cost of vanilla 15% efficient solar panels just crushed their business model. Traditional flat solar panels are now stupidly inexpensive. That’s how capitalism works.

      And that’s why solar power accounts for 99% of the new electric generation capacity that was added last month in the U.S. It’s now stupid-cheap and getting cheaper.

      So goodbye fossil fuels. Hello clean energy future. Hope you’re ready to dump the oil stocks from your portfolio.

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