UrbanVolt invests €30m as it rolls out new lighting system

Company signs deal with Bord Gáis Energy to become supplier to 30,000 customers

Fledgling Irish company UrbanVolt is planning to invest €30 million over the next 12 months to roll out energy efficient lighting solutions for SMEs.

UrbanVolt, which began trading in April, has signed a three-year deal with Bord Gáis Energy to become the preferred lighting supplier to its 30,000 commercial customers. Bord Gáis Energy, which is owned by UK group Centrica, will help fund the installation of LED lights with the aim of reducing energy bills for SMEs.

UrbanVolt retrofits the lighting at no cost to the SME with the two parties taking an equal share of the savings achieved over a five-year period. Most customers will see a 50 per cent reduction in lighting energy costs, after its fee, it claims.

Kevin Maughan, UrbanVolt chief executive and co-founder, said that until now, access to funding and incentives for energy efficiency hadn't reached SMEs as their projects were not large enough individually to be attractive.


“Our partnership with Bord Gáis Energy allows SMEs to gain immediate and significant energy savings with no capital investment,” he said.

Mr Maughan, a former investment banker with Merrill Lynch, said this partnership model would "transform the market" and enable SMEs to "dramatically reduce their energy costs".

Up-front cost

John Cussen, category manager with Bord Gáis Energy said: “We provide financial support to the customer that helps to fund the up-front cost of LED installations and UrbanVolt funds the cost of the lighting assets over five years, only taking their payment from the savings generated.”

He said the offer would be available to all SMEs not just its existing customers, and the company is expected to use it as a marketing tool to secure new business.

Mr Maughan left Merrill Lynch in 2005. He has since been involved in a turnaround at McCormick MacNaughton Ltd, the Caterpillar machinery group, that was placed into receivership in 2010. He was also a founder of Novaerus, a biotech company, that he grew to a valuation of $40 million, prior to stepping aside as chief executive officer earlier this year.

His co-founders are Graham Deane, who was also with Novaerus, and Declan Barrett, who previously had a facilities management business.

The company is backed by high net worth individuals and is expected to raise financing from institutional investors to fund its growth.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times