US alternative investment fund backs Social Energy for rapid Australian expansion


UK-based smart energy aggregator Social Energy arrived in Australia in the latter part of 2019 with its energy saving-and-trading platform and a launch party featuring the King of Spin himself, shareholder Shane Warne. 

Since then, the company’s AI, which links participants in state-based virtual power plants (VPPs) via Duracell 2.5-15 kWh battery storage systems, has received “significant investment in its UK and Australian energy business from fund manager CarVal investors”. Now the energy scale-up is looking to grow rapidly in the Australian market. 

According to a statement, the investment was completed in December 2020 and will help Social Energy to expand its offering to more electrical products, including hot water tanks and electric vehicles (EVs). 

Social Energy CEO, Richard Smith, said that the US-based CarVal Investor’s “involvement in the next stage of our story is an exciting development. We are delighted to have a partner on board who is heavily focused in the renewable sector and has complementary businesses across the globe.” 

Social Energy co-founders Julian Wiley (left) and Ryan Gill (right).

Image: Social Energy

CarVal Investors (CarVal) is a global alternative investment fund manager with a history of renewable energy investment. CarVal has invested over US$1 billion in renewable energy in the US, including a growing portfolio shared with CleanCapital and, as recently as December 2020, CarVal Investors closed on the purchase of a 16.8 MW DC solar farm in the US from Agilitas Energy. 

“CarVal’s expertise will be invaluable in scaling the business and we are excited about taking Social Energy to new markets,” said Smith, “as well as growing our existing operations in the UK and Australia.” 

As part of CarVal’s investment, the fund manager’s Principal, Stuart Lammin, will join the Social Energy board. “We are delighted to have completed our investment in Social Energy,” said Lammin, “and are very much looking forward to helping to support their ambitions over the coming years. We have a strong commitment to the clean energy sector and supporting companies that can help drive us to a carbon-free future.” 

With home batteries and EVs on the verge of booming in this decade thanks to falling prices, it is no doubt a smart decision by CarVal to invest in a promising mover and shaker. Social Energy helps customers maximise savings and earnings from their home solar and battery systems. Currently, Social Energy has approximately 6,000 customers, but with over 2.5 million Australians with solar panels on their homes there is space enough to rapidly grow. The shorter the payback period the more interested customers become. 

Social Energy uses earnings from providing frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) to the grid and trading on energy spot markets to provide offset income to consumers.

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