Energy-saving lighting specialist UrbanVolt is raising €55 million from British investor Low Carbon to fund its planned international expansion.
UrbanVolt fits LED lights to businesses and industries at no charge to the user, but gets paid by sharing the savings on their customers' energy bills over five years. Former Ireland rugby international Jamie Heaslip is among its backers.
The company said on Wednesday that Low Carbon has agreed to provide UrbanVolt with €55 million to finance the Irish firm's projects across the US, Britain and Europe.
It is understood that UrbanVolt will use the cash to pay for the fitting of the lights in clients’ premises and repay Low Carbon from its share of the savings generated as a result.
LED lights are expensive, so they involve a big up-front cost, but they cut electricity consumption by up to 80 per cent, allowing UrbanVolt and its customers to use the savings to pay for their installation over time. Low Carbon will provide the cash on a project-by-project basis.
Kevin Maughan, UrbanVolt chief executive, said the new deal would underwrite the international expansion that the company began this year.
“This deal will ensure that we can deliver thousands more projects each year,” he added.
“In addition, the multi-currency dimension of the financing arrangement is key, given that we are working on new projects with a growing list of clients across the US and Europe.”
Since it began trading in 2015, UrbanVolt has recruited Irish and multinational clients in the Republic. Existing customers include pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, medical equipment specialist Zimmer Biomet, and Cargotec, the Finnish group that makes cranes, forklifts and other equipment.
Mr Maughan pointed out that working with multinationals in the Republic had sparked interest in its approach among US companies. UrbanVolt recently opened offices in Chicago and Florida and plans launching in California shortly.
Low Carbon is a private investor that backs renewable energy businesses. Dominic Noel-Johnson, its investment director, pointed out that UrbanVolt’s approach uses energy efficiency to save customers’ money.
“This has important financial benefits, but also ensures businesses are contributing to sustainably reducing their carbon emissions,” he said.
UrbanVolt recently launched a new division that provides companies with solar energy equipment on the same basis that it supplies energy-efficient lighting.