Solar power generation soared in Europe this summer, saving the continent’s consumers billions as fossil fuel prices soared.
The European Union generated 12% of its power from solar energy between May and August, a record-breaking figure, according to analysis by climate-focused think tank Ember. It estimates that the uptick in solar power saved the continent €29bn in gas imports over the summer.
So, as solar interest surges, how are startups getting in on the act?
Investment into Europe’s solar tech industry reached a record $975m last year, according to data from Dealroom — and 2022 is on track to far overshoot that.
The biggest recent rounds were raised by 1Komma5 and Enpal, which are both focused on residential solar installation. 1Komma5, based in Hamburg, raised a €200m Series A in April this year, and Enpal raised a €150m Series C round at the end of last year.
But where are the next opportunities in the solar tech sector? We asked investors.
Solar management software
HV Capital, a German VC, is a backer of Enpal. Maximilian Zoller, principal at the firm, says there’s a growing opportunity for investors to back software tools used to manage solar power plants.
“The amount of solar and other decentralised assets will only increase over the next years and decades, so we believe there will also be a growing software market for the management of these assets,” he says.
“Solytic and ampere.cloud are software companies tackling the utility-scale solar market, which covers massive solar plants where even tiny improvements through better monitoring can make a big difference to the asset owners,” Zoller says. Utility-scale solar is large-scale generation on dedicated sites, as opposed to residential solar on homes.
“Solarize is an example of a software company opening up new markets to photovoltaic solar. They help commercial real estate owners utilise their rooftops by offering their tenants microgrid services,” he adds.
Zoller says we could see different software players emerge to cater for different segments of the market — one for residential solar, one for commercial solar and one for utility-scale solar, for example.
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