Nordic-based residential solar marketplace Otovo launches in the UK

Nordic-born residential solar marketplace, Otovo, has launched in the UK and is now available to help consumers effortlessly make the switch to solar. Otovo uses proprietary technology to connect customers to local, vetted, and approved installers of solar panels.
Nordic-based residential solar marketplace Otovo launches in the UK
Courtesy of Otovo.

The platform provides (obligation-free) personalised insights into the benefits that solar can bring to an individual’s property. Visitors to Otovo input their home address and, using satellite data and other data, the platform calculates how much sunlight a section of their roof receives and the corresponding energy produced, as well as the size, shape, and specification of suitable rooftop solar products.

Otovo technology is then able to price the project at the lowest price available from local MCS approved solar installers. Since its European launch in 2016, Otovo’s technology has assessed over 3 million homes across 13 European countries including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain: ensuring that its offering, now available to UK consumers, is highly optimised and reliable. 

UK consumers are turning increasingly to solar energy to stabilise their energy supply and costs. Solar installations have tripled in the last two years in the UK to over 3,000 installations per week and 89 percent of people support seeing more solar rooftop panels in their local area, according to Solar Energy UK. 

Historically, solar installations in Europe have proven a trading standards issue due to poor quality of work and contractor unreliability (in France, for example, it was once one of the most complained about of all trades). Otovo only works with MCS certified installers, applying additional vetting, undertaking quality control checks and external audits of installers, and delivering industry-leading aftercare.

As a pioneer in solar, in its home market of Norway, Otovo has cut the price of solar in half over the past 6 years alone. To date, Otovo has helped over 15,000 households in Europe transition to domestic solar power, operating at a pace of close to 10,000 installations per year.

As well as offering British consumers the option to purchase a solar system outright, Otovo also brokers loans (provided by Humm Group) potentially reducing the need for a large upfront payment. A typical 10 panel installation in Surrey could cost £160/month over three years to finance a £5,000 installation. The panels could generate 4000 kWh/year at current electricity rates of £0.34/kWh. In the described scenario, this specific consumer could expect to save anything from 49 percent off their electricity bill and pay back their investment in less than ten years. If they were to buy outright, payback would be a little over eight years. In the near future, UK households, like those in other Otovo markets, will be able to lease their solar panels via Otovo over twenty years. This leasing model has proved immensely successful in other markets, such as Portugal, Germany, and Spain.

With VAT on residential solar systems in the UK currently set at 0 percent, the average cost of an installation is £5,000-£6,000, and when the leasing model becomes available in the UK, residential solar systems will be more accessible to a wider pool of consumers. Residential system pay back times in Europe can be as low as 5-10 years.

Otovo also offers batteries as part of solar systems for the UK market. Following trends in markets such as Germany and Italy, where battery attachment rates are 70-80 percent, 85 percent of Otovo’s current sales have batteries attached. The benefits of batteries are immense: consumers can harvest sunlight during daylight hours, which is stored and then deployed by the battery at night.

Otovo’s UK team is led by Jina Kwon, Otovo General Manager for the UK and Ireland, and she joined from wholesale marketplace Ankorstore, where she was UK Country Manager.

Jina has spent the majority of her career launching and running online marketplaces in the United Kingdom. Prior to Ankorstore, Jina held a number of senior leadership positions at leading online restaurant reservation platform, Bookatable (later acquired by TheFork, a Tripadvisor Company). Before this she was Head of Business Development at OneLane and spent five years at Groupon running various business units including Strategic Planning and leading the Travel Business Unit, Northern Europe. At the beginning of her career Jina worked at Mergermarket with her final position being Global Head of Marketing and Communications. Jina studied at Cornell University and INSEAD.

“Once you decide you want to save money and the planet by going for solar, it can be daunting getting up to speed on solar technology, solar hardware requirements, and solar installers” said UK General Manager Jina. “Otovo offers consumers an easy, trustworthy way to get a solar system installed. Using our tried and tested technology, UK households can get an instant quote and be connected with the best vetted, trusted installers in the UK. This year, Otovo will make leasing available in the UK, making cheap, sustainable, energy accessible to many more households. Otovo is also a safe bet for installers and industry professionals - we help them secure hardware as well as make their lives easier by handing them sold jobs where we handle the time consuming admin work and customer management.”

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