Germany’s DZ-4 secures first investor


While the purchase price was not disclosed, co-founder and MD of DZ-4, Tobias Schütt told pv magazine that the company is expecting to raise a total of €400,000 by this September 1. "Of that, Watt and Wärme has taken a large portion, there is however equity still left to be placed," he added.

Commenting on the new partnership, Volker Feddersen, MD of Watt & Wärme said, "The energy policy and, in particular, photovoltaics, needs new business models like that of DZ-4’s." Co-founder and MD of DZ-4, Tobias Schütt added, "The focus of the next six months is now on the realization of the first pilot project."

Following the news, distributed utility company DZ-4 said it would move its offices in Hamburg to those of Watt & Wärme, also located in Hamburg.

In an exclusive interview with pv magazine back in February, Schütt said that, ironically, it is the weak solar market conditions and falling prices of 2011, which helped make his business idea – distributed utility company, DZ-4 – viable. "[These conditions] were the driver for me to start DZ-4 and to quit at Deutsche Bank, because this [business] model is … only possible by prices coming down."

The goal of the company is to install pilot photovoltaic systems on 10 residential homes in Germany, in the second half of this year. He has engaged the help of the Fraunhofer Institute, which will carry out a technology assessment of the systems.

Unlike other solar leasing programs, like those offered by U.S.-based SunRun or Solar City, DZ-4 has said it will purchase the necessary equipment from manufacturers and then utilize local or national solar installers to carry out the construction work. "SolarCity is building up a large workforce of installers. We don’t need that here in Germany, as there are so many highly qualified installers in the market," explained Schütt.

Once the pilot phase has been completed, DZ-4 will then be looking to enter into a further financing round in 2013, in order to roll out the scheme on a wider scale. It is expected that "hundreds" of systems will be installed on homeowners’ rooftops during 2013 and 2014.