Sungevity, E.ON partner in Europe to expand solar energy business

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California-based solar group Sungevity, Inc. has teamed up with E.ON Benelux, a division of investor-owned German utility giant E.ON, as it moves to expand into the European market.

As part 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.

The move follows E.ON’s strategic investment in Sungevity in April that 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 entered the Dutch solar market in 2012 and plans to use the partnership with Sungevity to expand its solar energy footprint, the companies said.

To facilitate its European expansion, Sungevity has converted its minority stake in Dutch solar startup 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 company will serve as Sungevity’s European headquarters and manage and support solar services provided to E.ON customers as well as other Sungevity customers acquired through separate marketing initiatives and partnerships.

"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 chief exec. "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."

E.ON Benelux Sales Director Roel Meijerink added, "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."

Sungevity first entered the European market through a joint venture partnership with Zonline in 2011 and launched its brand in Australia in April 2012.