Under the terms of the partnership, Sungevity will offer its turnkey solar energy service to E.ON's base of customers in the Netherlands on a co-branded basis. The partnership is expected to expand to other European countries in the near future and is part of Sungevity's increased focus on international expansion -- which is expected to include a full range of marketing initiatives and strategic partnerships in targeted markets around the globe.
"As the second-highest-priced energy market in Europe, the Netherlands is an ideal place to begin our strategic partnership with E.ON," said Andrew Birch, Sungevity's CEO. "Being able to tap into their customer base, their brand recognition and their credibility as one of the largest utilities in Europe gives us a solid route to market with extensive growth potential in the face of rising demand for alternative energy sources."
Likewise, partnering with Sungevity is designed to help E.ON achieve one of its core objectives – "to improve people's lives as a global sustainable energy provider and preferred partner for energy solutions," said Roel Meijerink, sales director, E.ON Benelux. "Offering Sungevity's solar services will give customers a broader choice backed by software technology that simplifies the sales process both for us and for the end consumer."
E.ON SE, one of the world's largest investor-owned utility companies, last month made a strategic investment in Sungevity that set the stage for the current partnership and helped the solar energy provider raise a total of $70 million in new equity financing from a consortium of new and existing investors. E.ON has been successful in the solar business in multiple European countries, entered the Dutch solar market in 2012, and plans to use the partnership with Sungevity to expand its solar energy footprint.
To facilitate its European expansion, Sungevity has converted its minority stake in Dutch solar start-up 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.
Sungevity first entered the European market through a joint venture partnership with Zonline announced in November 2011, and launched its brand in Australia in April 2012.