Solar giant Sungevity has exited the Australian market in a move many will see as a response to the federal government’s hostility towards renewables. The company has now been bought up by solar expert Nigel Morris who is ready to take on the fossil-fuel addicted government under the rebranded RoofJuice Australia.
In a brief statement released by Sungevity on Thursday morning, the company said:
“Sungevity Inc… today announced that it has sold its minority stake in the Australian operation to RoofJuice Pty Ltd, an Australian solar company led by Nigel Morris.
“Sungevity Inc is currently exiting Australia to focus on other core markets. The new entity will be rebranded ‘RoofJuice’ and will take over responsibility for all existing Sungevity customers and processes in Australia.”
Mr Morris met this brevity with a lengthy statement on his decision to acquire Sungevity’s Australian interests in the face of government hostility.
“It stands to reason that despite the blindingly obvious attempts by our current government, solar cannot be stopped and inevitably this means many players will survive,” Mr Morris said. “Some may even prosper. But I am under absolutely no illusion that this is a very tough game loaded with traps, twists and turns.”
He said that his own experience as a solar industry analyst, business coach and advocate had provided him ample evidence of the precarious state of the solar industry. But the decision to acquire Sungevity was “relatively simple”.
He said the Sungevity business was full of “extraordinarily business savvy and seasoned industry players”. Plus he was ready for “a fresh challenge”.
“But most importantly I absolutely believe that we are at the beginning of the next phase of growth in this market. I used to talk about how solar was immaterial to the energy industry but that would change and lo, here we are threatening the viability of the entire incumbent electricity industry.
“We are so material, so influential and have such potential for further disruptive influence that our own Prime Minister, who has declared his undying love for ‘humanity-saving coal’, has resorted to headlong full frontal attacks.”
Mr Morris said the government had made “a fatal and unrecoverable error of judgement” on solar.
Labor’s commitment to a 50 per cent renewable target had set the stage for an “election showdown” where solar would be a core issue.
“By the time the election comes around more than 500,000 more voting age Australians will be solarised. And loving it. And telling their friends. That will put us in a position where potentially five million Australians dig this stuff. Massively,” he said.
“Being human, many will square up to the ballot box, pencil in hand, not entirely sure how to make a silk purse out of sows ear and will think: ‘What are the issues that affect my personal situation and who will help me most?’ Solar happens to personify personal empowerment and will therefore feature very heavily, is my guess.
Mr Morris said he was also swayed to takeover the business as it presented an opportunity to bring a high level of experience and expertise back into 100 per cent Australian ownership.
“Despite the current policy environment I can’t wait to demonstrate that this industry will not lay down and be destroyed. We will grow and deploy the latest energy saving technologies. We’ll help reduce emissions and change the mix in the energy market. We’ll save consumers and business money. Of course this will not be easy and there are a lot of awesome solar companies out there whom I hugely respect, but it will happen.”