Environmentally-based web search app Ecosia – the internet minnow committed both to paying its taxes & to funding worldwide tree-planting– is investing Euros 20 million in Zolar, a start-up solar energy firm.
Christian Kroll, co-founder and boss of Google’s Berlin-based rival, says the West’s accelerating of solar PV deployment must be an essential response to developed nations’ addiction to fossil fuels, an addiction brought into stark focus by Vladimir Putin’s violation of Ukraine.
“Russia can afford this war because we have been buying its oil and gas”, Kroll wrote this week in a blog.
“It yields influence by threatening to cut off its energy supply. This war — like many others — is driven by the global politics of Big Oil”.
By partnering with Zolar, writes the search firm’s boss, the investment will allow 1,300 households in Germany to power their homes with solar energy.
Targeting home solar, and declaring as its mission “to install a PV system on every rooftop in the world”, German-focused Zolar was founded by Alex Melzer in 2015, as he trekked and cycled through the retreating glaciers of the Andes.
Its designers accept web-delivered photos of clients’ roofs, draw up array designs & electrical plans, and return them for installation by firms in its German network. Backers include the venture capital arm of green generator Statkraft, solar developers BayWa RE, Copenhagen-based Heartcore Capital and US private equity group Energy Ventures.
The firm claims its calculations show a PV system installed on every roof in Europe would eliminate the combined carbon emissions of France, Italy and Spain.
Ecosia says it is “200% fuelled by renewable energy”, with its own solar arrays producing double its corporate needs. It is already carbon-negative. The Zolar outlay nearly triples its cumulative Euro 7 million investment to date in solar parks.
Kroll says Ecosia is also backing a civil society venture to help Ukrainian refugees find shelter in Germany. Over 180,000 beds have already been pledged with the support of the Ecosia community. Volunteers are now matching refugees with hosts.
“I’m moved by everyone’s generosity and solidarity”, the Ecosia boss writes.