Solar energy start-up Rainbow lures Funding Circle founder

One of the co-founders of Funding Circle, the London-listed fintech, is taking the helm of a solar energy start-up which promises to bring down the cost of renewable power for households and small businesses.

Sky News understands that Rainbow Energy, which was founded in 2020, will announce this week that it has recruited Andrew Mullinger as its chief executive.

Mr Mullinger will work with Rainbow’s co-founders, co-founders Stefan Cooksammy and Neil Cockerill, on a rapid expansion of its operations during a period when volatile wholesale energy prices have fuelled inflationary pressures across the global economy.

The company is offering to install renewable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, heat-pumps and car-charging units, and says it wants to become its customers’ “preferred energy partner”.

So far, it has raised just under £1.5m in seed funding, and is expected to seek more capital as it expands.

Rainbow claims it will “combine exceptional customer service with cutting-edge technology that will allow the efficient and cost-effective decarbonisation of all energy needs”.

Its long-term aim, it says, is to facilitate the transfer of energy between customers through a decentralised grid.

This would enable its customers to sell surplus energy to each other.

The falling cost of solar panels and spiking wholesale gas prices have, Rainbow argues, made renewable power more attractive, with solar installations now cost-effective within seven years.

Fewer than 4% of homes in Britain have solar panels, while there are just 300,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country, while forecasts suggest that there may be as many as 15m EVs on the roads a decade from now.

“The climate crisis is undeniably the most pressing issue of our time, and the widespread adoption of renewable energy is crucial to meeting our Net Zero commitments,” Mr Mullinger said.

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“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of Rainbow’s enormous and important mission to empower households and small businesses to take control of their energy supply and become their own provider.”

Mr Mullinger’s tenure at Funding Circle, which was set up as a peer-to-peer lender and served thousands of small businesses, was followed by work with a range of start-ups including in the climate and energy sectors.

Rainbow employs 40 people, and is based in London.