If you had $54 million dollars, would you buy a rooftop solar company? The Northern American branch of Centrica, Direct Energy, did just that when it recently acquired Astrum Solar. This purchase may turn out to be a good bet, because Astrum is expected to produce $40 million in revenues this year.
Centrica is a British multinational utility. It mainly supplies electricity and gas to UK and North American markets. In the UK, it is the largest source of domestic gas. Production of natural gas and exploration for additional sources are also some of its primary activities. The company has a market capitalization of about $25 billion dollars.
If this bit of information seems slight irrelevant, it’s not. That a more conventional energy company, and one with a strong grounding in domestic energy) is taking a chance on a rooftop solar company at least suggests that solar power is becoming more mainstream. Astrum Solar has revenue as well, so it isn’t as though Direct Energy is taking on a high-risk acquisition that is losing money.
“We are excited at the potential of the Astrum Solar business in a rapidly growing market and we are delighted to be adding solar power to the range of energy options we already offer our customers. This acquisition fully aligns with our vision of using new technology and innovation to help our customers gain greater control over their energy use,” explained Direct Energy president and chief executive Badar Khan.
There are many events that will undoubtedly crop up that may seem to accelerate or slow the growth of solar in the US. One is extreme weather, because many Americans seem to believe, rightfully or wrongly, in a direct correlation or even cause and effect relationship between climate change and extreme weather events. (This is not to imply at all that they are unrelated, just that the relationship is probably a little more complex than A caused B.)
Consider what the White House wrote on its official blog, “Building on the progress of the first term, this Administration continues to take new action to drive clean, American-made energy. Through initiatives such as public-private partnerships and renewable energy projects on public lands, we are on track to meet our goals of installing 100 megawatts of renewable capacity across federally subsidized housing by 2020, permitting 10 gigawatts of renewable projects on public lands by 2020, deploying 3 gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations by 2025, and doubling wind and solar electricity generation in the United States by 2025.”
Astrum Solar appears to have been doing well in its field of rooftop solar. For example, in July it signed a $100 million dollar partnership deal with Hudson Clean Energy.