Solar distributor OSW raises $51m ‘war chest’ to take renewables fight global

Solar distributor OSW raises $51m ‘war chest’ to take renewables fight global

OSW CEO and co-founder Anson Zhang.

One of Australia’s largest wholesale solar distributors OSW has today announced it successfully closed a $51 million Series A funding round, backed by global equity firm Hillhouse Investment.

Described by the Sydney-based company as a ‘war chest’, the Series A funds will be used to continue pushing internationally into new territories, and to reinvigorate products and services locally.

Co-founded by university mates Jeff Yu and CEO Anson Zhang in 2013, OSW is a major Australian distributor of solar energy products from PV panels to inverters and solar storage options. The company itself is a subsidiary of GCL Integrated Holdings - a multinational, China-based energy company with more than 40,000 employees - although the founders retain a stake.

As part of Hillhouse Investments’ contribution to the Series A, the equity firm will acquire $27 million worth of shares in OSW from GCL Integration, with the remaining $24 million acting as a capital injection for the Australian company to use.

According to OSW, the investment was designed to fortify its global expansion plans, building on recent openings in Poland, the Netherlands and the US state of Texas. The company said additional OSW locations will be opened in Texas, Germany and France next year.

CEO Zhang, who alongside Yu won the 2021 Sydney Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the 2021 Australian Young Entrepreneur Manufacturing, Wholesale & Distribution Award, said the deal would open up ‘tremendous’ opportunities locally and overseas.

“We’re seeing incredible demand for sustainable energy solutions and for countries like Australia, which enjoys an abundance of sunshine, solar power generation has to be at the forefront,” said Zhang.

“Through expanding our network we seek to bring to market an even greater portfolio of new and innovative solutions that will help our customers meet the growing demands.”

OSW co-founder Jeff Yu
OSW co-founder Jeff Yu

 

The co-founder added that solar was only going to become more critical over the coming years, supported by OSW’s ‘revolutionary’ energy value chain which combines software capabilities, technologies and solutions to give customers better outcomes.

“Internationally, we’re seeing a similar story and firmly believe that solar power generation will play a critical role in society for years to come,” said Zhang, who with Yu also co-founded renewable energy retailer Discover Energy in 2018.

“The future is bright.”

Hillhouse Investment said it was excited about the role OSW would play in a carbon neutral future.

“We are excited to support the passionate entrepreneurs at OSW as they pursue this endeavour,” Hillhouse Investment said.

“Sustainable energy solutions are key to achieving the goal of carbon neutrality and we are enthusiastic about the role OSW could play in this global effort.”

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