European startup with a rent-to-own solar energy business is worth over $1 billion

Updated: Nov 6

Accelerating the adoption of solar energy among homeowners in Europe has brought the German startup Enpal a total of $290 million in financing over the past few months.



Against a backdrop of fossil fuel supply constraints and rising energy prices in Europe, the argument for switching to renewable power and battery storage is being made for homeowners that can afford to make the switch.


With the new funding Enpal joins the list of well-capitalized early stage businesses in Europe and the US that are trying to boost solar energy usage among homeowners and renters.

American businesses like GoodLeap (formerly known as Loanpal), and Sunlight Financial have raised billions in public and private funding to provide financing options for solar power installations.


Enpal has a different approach. The company, backed by investors including SofBank Vision Fund (a multibillion investment vehicle out of Japan), SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive, and HV Capital, charges customers a flat fee for the solar panels and handles the installation costs themselves.


“The fight against climate change is one of the biggest challenges of humankind, and truly our moonshot mission”, said Enpal founder Mario Kohle, in a statement. “Our dream is to bring a solar system on every roof, battery storage into every home, an electric car in front of every door, and to connect all people from all walks of life to a sustainable community.”


Founded in 2017, Enpal offers a rent-to-own model for solar power, which would see customers able to purchase their home solar systems for one euro after paying a flat rental fee.


Installation is carried about by Enpal installers or certified partners and the company manages every aspect of the system management process until a customer’s subscription expires.


Striking the right balance of services, support and upfront pricing for systems that can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 is tricky, but Enpal uses algorithms and advanced modeling to keep its costs low.


Of course, as the cost of fossil fuel power climbs, solar systems begin to look increasingly attractive.


Enpal already has roughly 10,000 customers in Germany and it’s looking to expand there while exploring other markets in Europe, according to a report in TechCrunch.


“Our plan is to go beyond Germany because the climate crisis goes beyond our boarders,” Kohle told TechCrunch. “We also think that this small thing that we invented could also expand into e-mobility and community-based energy distribution.”


Services startups to enable easier adoption of renewable generation technologies are becoming a big business.


Whether that’s BlocPower or Sealed (a FootPrint Coalition portfolio company) providing commercial, residential, and multi-tenant homeowners with new energy efficiency upgrades, or Aurora Solar, which sells software making it easier for solar installers to spec out and optimize a potential installation to automate more of the process and reduce costs, these companies are raising money to bring the benefits of renewables to customers more easily.


And, as SoftBank investor Yanni Pipilis noted, these technologies are receiving a boost from market tailwinds.


“Rising electricity prices and increasing demand mean renewable energy adoption is rapidly becoming mainstream,” said Pipilis, in a statement.

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