Sungevity CEO Andrew Birch was just profiled by The Telegraph.
Growing up in Edinburgh, where his father managed a top hotel, Birch says he was always passionate about the environment. “I blame David Attenborough,” he says. Excelling at school, Birch won a place to read physics at Oxford aged 17.
After a year he returned to do his degree at St Andrews instead. He was already hooked on solar. “It hit me immediately; solar had to be smarter than digging stuff out of the ground and burning it. I felt it had to be lower cost ultimately.” He joined Cazenove and then Bear Stearns in US equity sales and sought to build an expertise in clean-tech. On an investor trip to the US to see only listed solar company, AstraPower, where Birch saw a chart showing that the cost of solar was falling fast.
“In 2000 solar cost around 30 [cents per kilowatt hour] and US electricity was around 10c. At the time, everyone was quite right to say that it’s not economic,” he says. “But look back and you’d see a 30 year trend of solar falling in cost by 5pc a year and retail electricity going up about 5pc a year. It doesn’t take much rocket science to know the lines are going to cross at some point in the future.”