If, until now, the installation of solar panels on the roof of the house required Portuguese families to invest a few thousand euros, it will now make its debut in Portugal, at the hands of the Norwegian startup Otovo, a Digital platform which offers a new subscription service for those who want to produce photovoltaic solar energy for home consumption.
Manuel Pina, former CEO of Uber, who now takes the reins of Otovo in Portugal (the 10th market in which the company enters Europe, having already equipped 11,000 European roofs with solar panels), speaks of “energy solar as a service”, sold in a new market where customers and installers of solar panels interact. Across Europe, Otovo has a network of 700 certified companies, but so far in Portugal only four installers have joined the new platform, as the company is in the process of attracting new local partners from the north in the south of the country. .
Otovo’s offer in Portugal therefore consists of two modalities: families can buy solar panels or sign a subscription contract valid for 20 years, without any initial investment and in which they will only pay a monthly amount, fixed annually and revised for inflation. Manuel Pina gives the example of a family from Leiria who has already joined this system: an average monthly electricity bill of 98 euros will increase to 57 euros with solar panels. To this value are added 32 euros of the paid subscription to Otovo. In the end, the final bill each month will be around 89 euros, which equates to a net saving of 7 euros, calculates Otovo. In one year, the savings can reach 90 euros, they say.
The company manager points out that the value of the subscription depends on each customer’s solar project, so there is no average value, nor a minimum or maximum value for this payment. It gives only one guarantee: “The value of the subscription is always lower than the electricity bill”, guarantees Manuel Pina, adding that at each moment of the 20-year contract, the customer can buy the solar panels installed on its roof or even extend the subscription. accord and also add batteries to the system, enjoying the benefits of energy storage.
“Installing solar panels at home is not an impulse purchase. For the family that I have indicated, consisting of three people, we are talking about an initial investment of between 2,000 and 3,500 euros. And the weekend , if they invest in energy efficiency measures and still sell the excess energy to the grid, they will be able to save more”, guaranteed Manuel Pina during the presentation of the company, which officially debuts this Wednesday in Portugal , although she already has a few sales in her portfolio.
The service is mainly aimed at villas and townhouses (50% of housing in Portugal), but is also available for buildings. However, the CEO warns that the roofs of urban buildings “are not the best performers for real and net savings”.
But how does the Otovo platform work? Whoever wants to have solar panels on the roof of his house enters his address, the software designs the solar photovoltaic system and makes an instant auction among the installers, presenting a proposal “in seconds”, which can still be personalized, with batteries. If you are considering adding a water heater or electric charger to your car in the future, you can also talk to Otovo’s technical advisors.
The payment model is split between a one-time purchase, with a 5-year warranty, or the subscription service.
“More than half of the Portuguese population lives in independent houses, or with control of their roofs, but they do not take advantage of the solar potential they have. We want factories to create solar energy on each roof and batteries in every home in a simple and economical way”, says Manuel Pina, who does not hide his ambition to launch the company in Portugal, at a time when energy expenditure is a major concern for all families. Despite the potential, only 5% of homes in the country currently have solar panels.
Otovo was born in Norway in 2016 and is currently present in nine European markets, with revenues of 80 million (a growth of 200%), Portugal being the 10th market to welcome the Norwegian company, listed on Euronext Growth with a capitalization market value of approximately 350 million euros.
Currently, Otovo operates in ten European markets – Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, Poland, Austria, UK, Portugal, Italy and Germany. Manuel Pina guarantees that the company will not stop there, already having other markets in sight.