The eco-friendly web search app Ecosia – the internet minnow committed to both paying its taxes and funding tree planting around the world – is investing 20 million euros in Zolar, a start-up -up specialized in solar energy.
Christian Kroll, co-founder and boss of Berlin-based rival Google, says the West’s accelerated deployment of solar PV must be a key response to developed countries’ dependence on fossil fuels, an dependence highlighted by the violation of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.
“Russia can afford this war because we bought her oil and gas,” Kroll wrote in a blog post this week.
“He is ceding his influence by threatening to cut off his energy supply. This war – like many others – is driven by the global politics of the big oil companies”.
By partnering with Zolar, writes the research firm’s boss, the investment will enable 1,300 households in Germany to power their homes with solar energy.
Targeting home solar power and declaring as its mission “to install a photovoltaic system on every rooftop in the world”, Germany-focused Zolar was founded by Alex Melzer in 2015, while he was walking and cycling the receding Andes glaciers.
Its designers accept photos of customer roofs provided on the web, draw up network designs and electrical plans, and send them back for installation by companies in its German network. Backers include venture capital arm of green generator Statkraft, solar developers BayWa RE, Copenhagen-based Heartcore Capital and US private equity group Energy Ventures.
The company says its calculations show that a photovoltaic system installed on every roof in Europe would eliminate the combined carbon emissions of France, Italy and Spain.
Ecosia says it is “200% powered by renewable energy”, with its own solar panels producing double its corporate needs. It is already carbon negative. Zolar’s expenditure nearly triples its cumulative investment of 7 million euros to date in solar parks.
Kroll says Ecosia also supports a civil society enterprise to help Ukrainian refugees find refuge in Germany. Over 180,000 beds have already been pledged with support from the Ecosia community. Volunteers are now matching refugees with hosts.
“I am touched by the generosity and solidarity of everyone,” writes the boss of Ecosia.