EnergyAustralia has acquired a 49% stake in solar installer and energy efficiency company Echo Group, in a partnership both companies hope will expand offerings to commercial and industrial customers.
Echo Group is one of Australia’s largest installers of rooftop solar systems, in addition to being a leading supplier of LED lights, battery storage systems and energy monitoring equipment.
Echo Group includes the brands Cherry Energy Solutions, that focuses on commercial solar installations and energy management, Littil LED lights, and Eko Energy which focuses on residential systems.
“Households around Australia have been taking advantage of rooftop solar and LED lighting to get back in control of their energy use,” EnergyAustralia executive Mark Collette said.
“Our partnership with Echo is about making those technologies available to businesses, too, because it doesn’t matter how big a customer is, reliability and saving money always matters.”
“Echo Group is a great, local Australian business with a reputation for service and great technical advice. Our businesses are a great fit and together we plan on reaching more commercial and industrial customers more often – helping them achieve their saving targets and environmental benefits that much sooner,”
Collette told the RenewEconomy Insiders podcast in March that he believed that renewables, including rooftop solar, would underpin the future energy system in Australia, with coal generators likely taking a supporting role.
A recent report from the Australian Energy Market Commission into retailer competition has found that the Big-Three retailers, which includes EnergyAustralia, are likely to face increasing competition has consumers gain greater awareness and control over their energy costs.
A move by EnergyAustralia to take a major stake in a solar installation company like Echo Group is a way for the major retailer to gain exposure to an ever emerging side of the energy market.
Echo Group welcomed the opportunity to partner with EnergyAustralia, and hopes to expand offerings to commercial customers to include a wider range of battery storage systems, and demand response control systems.
“Our companies have much in common: a joint ambition to delight customers and lead the transition to a clean energy future. Together, we look forward to bringing these technologies to life for the considerable EnergyAustralia customer base and beyond,” Echo Group CEO Erik Zimmerman said.
It is the second such deal signed by Zimmerman, who previously sold an earlier solar ‘bulk-buy’ installation business, Rezeko, to AGL in 2011, in a deal worth around $15 million.
Zimmerman reinvested the proceeds into Echo Group, extending the company’s focus beyond solar installations to offer customers with a ‘full package’ of options that included energy efficient appliances and energy management systems.
Echo Group was founded in 2012, the company has achieved strong growth, including turnover exceeding $25 million by 2018.
The company initially focused on the Victorian solar market, but has extended its reach into New South Wales and Queensland.