Tuesday

6th Dec 2016

Focus

Sillicon valley know-how aims to conquer EU solar market

The long list of California cool making its way into European homes got a little longer this year, when a solar company from Amsterdam acquired the license to a new technology to calculate a building’s propensity to generate power from the sun.

The technology, its developers say at Oakland-based Sungevity, allows the company to make a faster and more accurate estimate of the costs and benefits of installing solar panels on your roof.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • "It used to be that people would go up on the roof to take measurements." (Photo: VELUX / ESTIF)

“It used to be that people would go up on the roof [to take measurements],” Danny Kennedy, founder of and president at Sungevity, told EUobserver.

Instead, he said, his team of engineers are using satellite images, aerial photographs and specially designed software to do in less than 24 hours what used to take weeks. He calls it “remote solar design."

“It is what we pioneered. It is where we are leveraging,” he said.

Building on success in the US, the company late last year announced it was expanding abroad by taking an equity stake in a solar start-up in the Netherlands, Zonline, and giving it access to the new technology.

The new service went live in April this year. During the first three months of operation, Zonline director Roebyem Anders said, the company received more than 3000 estimate requests and sold close to 150 solar panel installations.

“We have been very successful. It has exceeded expectations,” she said. Next year, she wants to sell 1,000 installations.

The reason for choosing the Netherlands, Kennedy said, was not that orange is both the company’s and the country’s national colour, but, among other things, that electricity prices are high enough for solar to be competitive.

“We are at a tipping point,” he said. “Electricity prices across the continent dictate that solar makes sense.”

Electricity prices have been rising for years, while those for solar panels have been falling. Neither trend is expected to come to a halt anytime soon, and to a growing number of home-owners the relatively big investment in a solar panel installation is looking less and less frightening.

According to a typical Zonline estimate, a €6,600 system of 12 solar panels on an average house in the Netherlands somewhere would save the owner almost €30,000 in electricity bills over the course of 25 years. It would provide almost three quarters of the household’s total electricity consumption.

Sungevity’s foray into the Netherlands is “something of a test”, Kennedy said, to see if it could survive in a highly competitive European market. If so, he plans to expand even further.

“We are very interested in Europe. We are looking further afield,” he said.

Analysis

Austrian far-right: beaten, but not defeated

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer's loss to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen sent relief across Europe, but his party is still in a good position to head a government in the future.

News in Brief

  1. Idea of road transport agency gains momentum among MEPs
  2. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  3. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  4. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  5. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM
  6. EU tells US tech giants to act faster against hate speech
  7. Iceland's Pirates in bid to form government
  8. Danes are the happiest workers, study says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)