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New Challenger Brand Set to Hit Energy Retail Market

19 Apr 11:00 by Steve Walia

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Britain's biggest generator of solar energy, Lightsource, is teaming up with EDF energy in order to create a huge new challenger brand in the power retail market by 2020.

Mr Brooks left his role at Goldman Sachs six months ago to join Lightsource and lead the project rollout. His plan is to get the solar technology into a million homes by the end of this decade.

This would place the venture in front of other suppliers such as Ovo Energy and First Utility, which currently have the leading position for market independents.

The Sunplug energy offers allows customers to produce their own energy and then store it during the day - using the resulting energy when they require it at a fixed price, without needing to pay to maintain or install solar PV panels.

The model is similar to mobile phone contracts, where customers sign up to a contract in order to pay off the handset price over time alongside the tariff for service use. Sunplug expects that the market offer will create fresh demand for solar energy technology by stripping cost out of the equation.

Companies plugging smart devices and off-grid generation are nothing new. But Lighthouse is changing things by approaching the drive towards a renewable energy future from a consumer-led angle.

Solar power was once favoured by the well-off middle classes with several thousand pounds available to invest in solar PV, but the new offer will allow any household to participate.

Homes with solar PV but without battery storage will usually use 30-40pc of the energy they produce. With the Sunplug energy storage, the efficiency of the panels will double. An online system will allow users to monitor the performance of their installation.