Berlin-based Zolar has raised €100 million (~$105 million) in Series C funding to expand its network of small solar system providers to meet growing demand for clean energy.
Germany is particularly exposed to the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, as it remains heavily dependent on Russian gas imports, meaning consumers there face sky-high gas bills.
And while the country’s political leaders remain under great pressure to find ways to quickly migrate to alternative energy sources to stop sending money to the Putin regime, German households don’t seem to be sticking around: Zolar says inquiries about installing systems solar have more than quadrupled. this year, following the rise in energy prices.
Its Series C round is led by US investor Energy Impact Partners (EIP); and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Existing investors also participated, including Inven Capital, Heartcore Capital, Statkraft Ventures and Pirate Impact Capital.
The startup’s pitch is to democratize access to solar power and reduce complexity for consumers, by offering an online configurator that it says is unique in the industry and gives homeowners an easier way to shop for solar installations. online or lease them for a small monthly fee. .
The company founded in 2016 had raised 59 million euros before this increase, according to Crunchbase. Its network of small solar installers also recently benefited from $23 million in support of the green search engine, Ecosia, which announced in March that it would channel a portion of the profits it generates from search ads into clean energy locally, in addition to plant trees, to help speed up Germany’s transition away from fossil fuels.
Add €100 million now, and Zolar looks well positioned to help many more consumers switch to clean energy.
To meet what it describes as an “unprecedented” demand for solar power from German households, Zolar says it will substantially expand its Craftship Partner Network from currently 500 local craft businesses, to 3,000 by 2025 to increase solar installation capacity. .
It also plans to use Series C funds to open a training center this year to address the renewable sector’s skills gap and train workers in an accelerated process qualified to meet the demand of the energy shift.
The investment will also fund the launch of new digital energy products, with Zolar exemplifying a smart control feature that will allow its app to recognize the best time to charge an electric car and start charging automatically.
“Among others, the company’s application will be expanded to include an energy management system and a dynamic electricity tariff,” he writes in a press release. “The app will intelligently control homeowners’ solar power supply while maximizing their energy independence and cost savings.”
Commenting in a statement, Alex Melzer, CEO and founder, added: “Our goal is to supply 10 million households in Europe with a solar system or renewable energy by 2030. The climate crisis, energy security issues and the rising cost of fossil fuels mean we must move very fast. By offering a completely digital experience and making it as easy as possible to get started and go solar, we help people go green, become energy independent and save costs.”
“There are 16 million roofs on single-family and two-family houses in Germany. More than 14 million of them still do not have solar systems. Putting solar panels on these houses will boost Germany’s independence from coal, gas and oil,” he also noted.
In other statements of support, Zolar investors underscored the role that growing demand for solar energy can play in helping humanity tackle the climate crisis and have a chance at a sustainable future.
Matthias Dill, Europe Managing Partner at EIP, said: “Demand for green energy will accelerate considerably in the world’s efforts towards a net-zero future. Climate technology will drive the modern economy by accelerating the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Our investment in zolar it is part of our mission to support startups around the world that are determinedly driving the path to a sustainable future.”
“Our investment in Zsmell is a testament to GIC’s support of green innovation and the clean energy transition. For decades to come, climate change will define the investments that will accelerate the carbon transition. Zolar helps homeowners significantly reduce their carbon emissions, which is vital to global decarbonization efforts,” added Choo Yong Cheen, Chief Investment Officer of Private Equity at GIC.