Australian solar energy users sick of dud deals from major energy retailers can now invest in their own energy company, with the launch of the world’s first crowdfunded energy retailer for solar households.
DC Power Co today opened pre-registration for those interested in investing in the company, aiming to raise $4.75 million through equity investment to build an energy retailer promising better deals and financial savings for the nation’s 1.7 million solar panel households, a number predicted to grow to six million by 2050.
The company has secured a $750,000 grant from renewable agency ARENA, and will capital raise up to $10 million in private investment over the next 18 months. Venture Advisory is a founding investor and coordinating the private capital raising for DC Power Co.
DC Power Co is the brainchild of social entrepreneur Nic Frances Gilley, who has launched some of the world’s largest energy efficiency campaigns. Flexicar founder Monique Conheady, investment banker Emma Jenkin and solar expert Nick Brass are founding partners.
Recent changes to ASIC regulations now allows public companies with less than $25 million in assets to raise up to $5 million in funds from the general public in return for equity in the enterprise. DC Power Co has partnered with OnMarketBookbuilds to undertake the public offering, capped at 95,000 investors in the first year.
“The company founders have all worked in the energy sector in various roles and successfully founded companies and campaigns of this kind previously. We see renewable energy as the way of the future, both as a business model and as an environmentally-responsive solution to current outdated energy business models,” Mr Frances Gilley said.
“Inviting customers to be part-owners of their energy company is a unique proposition. Not only do you get a personalised solar service, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars each year on energy costs, you also get a share of the profits, which we think will be considerable given our potential for rapid growth.
“There are close to two million solar households in this country, another two million who could fit it now, andpotentially more than six million solar households by 2050. Getting in at the ground level for as little as $50 is a golden opportunity for investors.”
Those who register their interest will be notified as soon as the offer opens, prior to the official campaign launch on Monday, March 19. Registration is also open to those without solar panels.
“We are confident we will be oversubscribed but will still be engaging with people who register and miss out on the initial offer, because we know they will be our customers of the future,” Mr Frances Gilley said.
Venture Advisory managing director Chris Blyth said Australia’s $15 billion retail electricity market was undergoing unprecedented change as it shifted towards renewable sources.
“DC Power provides potential investors with a unique opportunity to get exposure to the fastest growing part of the market, that of the solar rooftop,” Mr Blyth said.
“Achieving scale as a retailer with a single focus will provide many future opportunities in terms of installing batteries and other smart home applications that allow demand management.”
DC Power Co expects to start operation by the end of the year, and will be offering solar performance checks and advisory services to registered parties after it launches on March 19.