German solar platform Zolar doubles year-on-year revenues despite Covid-19. CEZ increases its stake through Inven Capital

A year after acquiring a minority stake in the German start-up Zolar, the CEZ Group
venture capital fund Inven Capital is the lead investor among the current investors
increasing their financial stake by another €15 million. Despite the coronavirus
epidemic, Zolar has doubled their annual revenue and aims to spread their activities
not just throughout Germany but also by expanding abroad. They will use the
acquired capital to strengthen the unique platform which connects people interested
in photovoltaic and battery systems with suppliers and installation firms.
Aside from Inven Capital, the existing investors include Munich-based BayWa RE Energy Ventures,
Norwegian Statkraft Ventures, Heartcore Capital and global investment firm Partech Ventures.
These investors will provide the German start-up Zolar with money for additional development. The
€15 million increase was initiated by Inven Capital and the existing investors and it takes the SeriesB financing round to a total of 25 million euro. In the past four years, Zolar has built a successful
digital platform, which is used by thousands of customers across Germany to purchase photovoltaic
plants and battery systems. The platform also connects purchasing customers to more than 250
registered installation firms and entrepreneurs. Not even the coronavirus crisis could curb the rising
number of sales. On the contrary, Zolar wants to make the most of the current surge of interest in
household electricity production and storage.
“This large internal financing round with EUR 15 million of fresh capital is a confidence vote to use
this opportunity in the market and to move the company to the next level after they had already
shown a strong performance this past year,” said Tomáš Pleskač, a Member of the Board of
Directors of CEZ and Chief Renewable Energy and Distribution Officer.
“We see strong signs for anti-cyclicality in the PV market, driven by the threat of the pandemic and
recession. As a result, people thrive to achieve energy independence while increasing the value of
their property. This creates great opportunities for Zolar, which is also confirmed by Zolar’s 100% annual
revenue growth,” said Petr Míkovec, Managing Director of Inven Capital.
According to the international analytics company EuPD Research, demand last year for solar energy
from German households increased to 78,500 new solar installations, representing a year-on-year
increase of 41%. Increasingly more customers are choosing the combination of a photovoltaic power
plant with a battery storage system. More than 65,000 of these were installed last year, growing by
75 % in comparison to 2017. According to BSW Solar (German Solar Association), only around 10%
from the 15 million households living in single or double-family homes currently have photovoltaics
installed, which implies huge market opportunities.

“The new capital paves the way for us to become the first address for those who want to switch to
clean energy via solar systems, to expand internationally and to establish ourselves as a data
provider. Not only can our customers use the platform to choose tailor-made solar solutions, but we
are also managing the installation side trough certified external installation partners, according to the
availability and the customer’s preferences,” explained Alexander Melzer, the founder and CEO of
Zolar. This eliminates the common problem where the technicians of companies supplying solar
systems are swamped with orders, meaning the customer must wait a long time for installation.
Inven Capital acquired a minority stake in Zolar last September, in a €10 million investment round.
The current additional investment of €15 million is provided purely by the five existing investors.