Sungevity Inc., a closely held developer of rooftop systems, received $70 million from a group of investors including EON SE and General Electric Co. to expand in Europe and Australia.
Sungevity, based in Oakland, California, will also use the funds to improve its online customer-acquisition service, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Birch said in an interview.
Sungevity and competitors including SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. provide rooftop solar systems at little to no upfront cost. The business is threatening traditional utilities because solar customers buy less electricity from their local power companies. The investment shows that some utilities may be starting to adopt an if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them attitude, Birch said.
“It could be a pivotal moment in the solar industry when you see one of the great utilities make an investment like this after years of centralized energy,” Birch said.
Jetstream Capital LLC led the funding round. It was the first investment from EON, the largest utility in Germany. General Electric, the world’s largest maker of power-generation equipment, had invested previously.
Sungevity now has raised more than $200 million. About two-thirds of the company’s business is in the U.S., where sales doubled last year.