Europe’s Leading Residential Solar Marketplace Otovo Launches In The UK

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  Posted by: electime      27th February 2023

Europe’s leading residential solar marketplace, Nordic-born Otovo, has launched in the UK and is immediately available to help consumers effortlessly make the switch to solar.

At a time when UK consumers are reassessing options for domestic energy and turning increasingly to solar energy to stabilise their energy supply and costs, Otovo simplifies a previously opaque sector by using proprietary technology to connect customers to local, vetted, and approved installers of solar panels. Uniquely, the intuitive 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. Solar installations have tripled in the last two years in the UK to over 3,000 installations per week and 89% of people support seeing more solar rooftop panels in their local area, according to Solar Energy UK.

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.

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 differentiates itself from the wider consumer-facing solar industry  – and protects consumers in the process – by only working 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% 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%, 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%, 85% 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.

Appointment Of First UK General Manager

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.

Commenting on the launch, UK General Manager Jina Kwon said: “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. 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.”

Adding to Kwon’s comments, Otovo founder and CEO Andreas Thorsheim said: “Otovo is growing at an exceptional rate and I am so proud of the entire team as together we celebrate the launch of our thirteenth market. I have been very excited to bring Otovo to the UK and households can immediately go on the Otovo website and learn more about getting solar installed and the benefits it brings. Ultimately, Otovo is about democratising access to energy and amidst the current crisis, it is so important that consumers have the option to pursue energy independence.”

Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK, said: “Solar Energy UK’s mission is to build a clean energy system for everyone’s benefit. Crucially, we place a great deal of value on customer choice, consumer protection, and working with industry professionals to uphold high standards. There are a multitude of benefits to installing solar – to the planet, to your energy bills, and now, to your home’s value. Solar Energy UK research has found the return on investment makes upgrading a home with a solar power system an easy and simple way to lower a property’s running costs and increase its value while also reducing its environmental impact. We are pleased to see Europe’s leading residential solar marketplace Otovo enter the UK market and look forward to working with them advancing the UK’s transition to renewable energy.”

Kumi Thiruchelvam, an Otovo customer who lives in South-East England, said: “I obtained several quotes along with Otovo and the sales person gave me confidence that Otovo was the right installer for me. I had consistent responses throughout the process and any questions were promptly answered. I felt like I had the best of both worlds in having a strong technical installation team on my roof, and a strong technical team in the office giving them support.”

About Otovo

Otovo was founded in 2016 by Andreas Thorsheim in Oslo, where the company is headquartered, and is the easiest way to get solar panels on a residential roof. It is a pan-European network of local, high quality energy installers. All vendors are thoroughly vetted prior to being listed on the marketplace. The company uses technology to analyse the potential of a home and advises potential customers precisely what project they should install at their home. Presently, Otovo is active in 13 European markets – the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, and Switzerland. Otovo is currently installing at a pace of close to 10,000 per year. For more information about Otovo: