£50m boost takes ‘lighting-as-a-service’ mainstream

UrbanVolt is gearing up to bring its lighting-as-a-service alternative to buying lights to the UK as well as the US and Europe. Seen here are founders Declan Barrett, Kevin Maughan and Graham Deane.

THE ALTERNATIVE model to buying lights – paying for them monthly as a ‘service’ – has taken a step closer to the mainstream after receiving a £50 million (€55m, US$65m) funding boost.

The money will allow Irish LED lighting specialist UrbanVolt to bring its lighting-as-a-service model to the UK and the US.

UrbanVolt oversaw the retrofitting of 164 linear LED fittings on a pig farm in Offaly in the Irish Republic. The refit saves 41 MWh annually, a saving of 59 per cent over the fluorescent installation. The farmers – Mattie and Miriam Moore – pay a monthly service fee. Now UrbanVolt is adding solar panels to its offer. Pictured are Mattie Moore, left, and UrbanVolt commercial manager Michael Delaney

The firm – which already supplies major multinationals such as Pfizer – upgrades commercial buildings to LED lighting for no upfront capital cost. A proportion of the energy saving is then paid to UrbanVolt as a service charge for the first five years, during which time UrbanVolt also maintains the lights. The concept allows firms to finance lighting upgrades from operating expenditure budgets, rather than capital expenditure.

Big lighting brands Philips and Zumtobel also offer similar services, but are not specialists in the field.

UrbanVolt signed the funding deal with UK investment company Low Carbon, the biggest deal of its kind to date. Some 45 multinational companies have signed up to UrbanVolt’s service to date, including Zimmer Biomet, Cargotec and Pipelife.

Low Carbon is a London-based, privately-owned UK company, which specialises in renewable energy investment. The firm develops and invests in renewable energy projects and technologies, while also managing assets on its balance sheet for listed and unlisted third parties.

UrbanVolt CEO Kevin Maughan said the new deal will underwrite the company’s international expansion. ‘Low Carbon has an excellent record in investing in innovative business models in the energy services sector and we see them as a great long-term partner for UrbanVolt as we look to expand in the US, UK and continental European markets. 

‘This deal will ensure that we can deliver thousands more projects each year.  In addition, the multi-currency dimension of the financing arrangement is key given that we are working on new projects with a growing list of clients across the US and Europe.’

‘In the US, there has been huge interest in our ‘off balance sheet’ light as a service offering with larger corporate clients and our existing projects with Irish-based US multinationals have proved invaluable in demonstrating the effectiveness of UrbanVolt in delivering large scale energy efficiency projects.

‘We recently opened new offices in Chicago and Florida and we hope to open a further office in California in the near future.’

 Dominic Noel-Johnson, Investment Director at Low Carbon, told Lux: ‘Low Carbon is committed to investing in world class renewable energy solutions which mitigate the negative effects of climate change. UrbanVolt has developed a leading light as a service delivery model to help companies realise significant savings through energy efficiencies, without incurring any upfront cost.

‘This has important financial benefits, but also ensures businesses are contributing to sustainably reducing their carbon emissions’.


  • A lighting-as-a-service hub at LuxLive 2018 will bring together experts to advise on alternative financing models for retrofitting LED lighting. The exhibition takes place on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.