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US giant SunEdison acquires Energy Matters


Source: Business Spectator, 16 Oct 2014

SunEdison, a United States-based, vertically-integrated, solar PV manufacturer and retailing giant has just announced it will be acquiring long-standing Australian solar retailer and wholesaler Energy Matters and associated companies Apollo Energy and SunLock. This acquisition was rumoured to be in train back in early September by Nigel Morris of SolarBusinessServices, but has now been officially announced.

Energy Matters is one of Australia’s larger solar wholesalers and retailers. Based on Green Energy Markets data on small scale renewable energy certificate (STC) registrations the company appears to be one of Australia’s top ten solar retailing companies, although this is somewhat obscured by the role of intermediate certificate aggregators. Its young team of managers, led by CEO Jeremy Rich (see interview here), pioneered the use of an online sales model for solar in Australia, and has a reputation for rolling out premium-end systems. The have also played an important role in developing and defending the solar sector via their funding of research into the merit-order effect of how solar PV was likely to lower wholesale electricity prices in Australia.

SunEdison are one of the biggest solar suppliers in the US market, and expected to ship over a gigawatt of solar PV this year globally, but have been absent from the Australian market. With this acquisition they will become the only major retailer and distributor of solar systems in the country that directly manufactures its own solar panels all the way back to silicon production (it announced a few weeks ago it expects to achieve 40 cents per watt for solar modules thanks to an innovative new process for smelting polysilicon). It represents a very different model for the Australia solar sector which has traditionally been highly disaggregated except at the utility-scale.

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