Otovo, which started operations in Portugal on Wednesday, estimates to promote the installation of solar panels in 10,000 homes by 2025, which corresponds to 35 megawatts (MW) installed, Manuel Pina, the company’s director, told Lusa.
The Norwegian startup of residential solar solutions officially began operating on Wednesday in Portugal, its 10th European market, led by the general director for Portugal, Manuel Pina, former CEO of Uber.
Speaking to Lusa, Manuel Pina said that the platform estimates to make 10,000 sales, or new customers, depending on one of two models that it provides to facilitate the installation of solar panels in homes, until 2025, which corresponds to about 35 MW installed in the same period, an expressive figure for the residential market.
To this end, Otovo works as a platform that provides two ways of acquiring panels: a single purchase model, in which, for each installation, a commission is charged on the total value of the project, or else – and here is the novelty – a subscription model, for 20 years, in which the equipment is installed without the client needing to advance with any investment, charging a fixed monthly amount (subject to updates based on inflation).
“We believe that one of the main weapons that families have to defend themselves from the increase in costs is to produce their own energy”, said Manuel Pina, at the company’s presentation session, on a sunny terrace, in Lisbon.
The objective, he emphasised, is to “democratise the access to self-consumption, in a way that it is easy, economic and fast”.
So, in practice, whoever is considering installing solar panels at home introduces the address in the platform and there is an algorithm that determines which is the best system for that family, based on factors such as the inclination of the roof, for example.
Then, an instant auction is created between all installers that are on the application, a proposal is made to the client and, finally, the payment model is chosen.
For example, according to the official, a family from Leiria that has already adhered to the subscription system and that had an average monthly electricity bill of €98 is already saving €7 per month, as solar energy allows reducing the value of the bill to €57, to which €32 of subscription are added (total of €89 per month).
Additionally, there is also the possibility of selling the surplus energy produced to the grid, which increases the value of the savings.
For now, the platform has four national panel installers, but at a global level, the list includes more than 700 companies.
According to Otovo, 54% of the Portuguese population lives in independent or semi-detached houses, in other words, they have control over their roof, but only 3.5% of the energy consumed by families is produced in solar systems decentralised from the grid.
The company has been testing the processes with some sales in Portugal and, with still limited experience in the market, it concluded that more than 75% of the sales are with the subscription model.
As Manuel Pina said to Lusa, the sales made so far represent a real and immediate saving of between 5% to 20%, depending on the system chosen.
Globally, Otovo, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, presented €80 million of revenues in the last fiscal year and aims to reach between 80,000 and 90,000 installations in 2025.
By the end of this year, the platform will launch in three more markets, with the ambition to cover 90% of the residential market in Europe.