This tech company permits Nigerians to pay for solar using cryptocurrency


No longer different folks would accept as true with into memoir the belief of using cryptocurrency to bewitch orderly vitality a possibility. However it’s a mannequin that Lagos-primarily based OneWattSolar (OWS) has ancient to supply Nigerians with score entry to to electricity for more than two years.

The orderly vitality company permits its customers to pay for solar vitality using blockchain tokens. Customers also don’t favor to pay for the solar system infrastructure, because it’s funded thru monetary backers.

After set up, OWS makes expend of applied sciences equivalent to Synthetic Intelligence (AI) and the Info superhighway of Things (IoT) to facilitate products and services cherish funds and monitoring.

How does it all work together? TechCabal caught up with the corporate’s co-founder and COO, Jubril Adeojo, to search out out.

An innovative belief with many layers

Indulge in the conventional solar company, OneWattSolar (OWS) offers and distributes panels for inner most contributors and residential estates in Nigeria. What makes OWS diverse is the cost system it offers to customers. 

When using OWS’s orderly vitality solution, customers develop no longer favor to pay for the configuration of the solar panel system, which is funded by financiers. As an alternative, they bewitch tokens called “inexperienced coins” using naira to pay for the electricity equipped. The tokens are constructed on the blockchain platform, Ethereum.

The solar configuration can also be fitted with an web-enabled router that automatically collects data on vitality consumption to effect obvious that customers pay precisely what they expend – charged monthly on a pay-as-you-hurry foundation. Likewise, this would possibly well perhaps also just additionally alert OWS to any doubtless issues with the systems in accurate-time.

The expend of blockchain for its solar solution helps OWS allow transparency between all stakeholders as successfully as in the reduction of costs between all parties. “With this methodology, customers are charged for precisely what they expend,” said Adeojo.

On a broken-down provider using fossil fuels, vitality utilization is nearly ₦70 ($0.20) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in Nigeria. Nonetheless, the blockchain system prices 50% less ($0.10) when put next to diesel, as the dear maintenance prices of generators are averted.

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To boot to the blockchain tech, OneWattSolar has IoT embedded into its inverter and orderly meters that allow for automatic switchover of the system, even remotely. Within the meantime, the AI on its platform permits customers to place of dwelling instructions for the relaxation they’ll indulge in to be alerted about. 

“To illustrate, if somebody else is using your washing machine, the owner of that dwelling will know with the help of our AI-powered platform, which sends an alert. This permits the customer to successfully manage vitality consumption. Additionally, dwelling equipment will be switched on/off automatically and remotely. So even whereas you’re away, I will have the ability to swap off my AC at dwelling,” Adeojo said.

From precise one other solar company to “Uber” for vitality products and services

OWS hasn’t continuously been the corporate it’s on the present time, Adeojo explained. It’s segment of GoSolar Africa, a renewable vitality company that’s been in operation since 2010.

“We’ve been in change for more than ten years. We started out selling solar systems to homes and agencies that can perhaps well perhaps indulge in adequate money them upfront as successfully as pioneered a substitute of mini-grids in partnership with worldwide companies.”

After working for a decade, the corporate’s founders made up our minds to pivot into the off-grid industrial and industrial (C&I) solar dwelling starting with a pilot mission for a industrial bank. 

On the again of the a hit execution of its debut industrial mission, the corporate’s founders started working on what Adeojo calls the “Uber mannequin” for vitality products and services using the title OneWattSolar, which became as soon as finally launched in January 2019.

Since then, every thing has modified.

Photograph voltaic panels put in by OWS accomplice corporations. Photograph credit score: OneWattSolar

OWS now offers on-seek data from vitality-as-a-provider (EaaS) alternatives to particular individual and company possibilities in partnership with solar corporations. 

The startup gives hardware equivalent to solar panels and inverters after which contracts one of its aggregated corporations that develop set up and maintenance for possibilities. The latter effect from the mission as lengthy as the put in hardware is in expend. 

Doable customers can imprint in and effect a reservation on the OWS platform, which has an constructed in blockchain-powered rate system and wallet.

Even supposing Adeojo calls it the “Uber mannequin”, the corporate doesn’t precisely match possibilities with installers. As an alternative, OWS operates cherish a consumer-going thru contractor (and provider of hardware) however with a tech-enabled platform.

“We told ourselves to re-start however no longer as a solar company competing with other solar corporations. We made up our minds to undertake the Uber mannequin and blueprint out as a tech company opening up the market for other gamers and as Amazon did with bookstores.” Adeojo said. 

To boot to solar corporations that install hardware, there are also “energy brokers” that source for industrial possibilities.

In between this multifaceted change mannequin, Adeojo claims that OWS creates jobs for younger engineers who can also be segment of and effect from the set up and maintenance route of.

“We also indulge in over 1,000 younger folks – graduates and undergraduates – that work with the solar corporations and women folk effect up 10% of the neighborhood for the time being.”

The mountainous imaginative and prescient

Since its start, OneWattSolar has put in 50 megawatts systems that are completely operational.

The corporate’s imaginative and prescient 2030 is to deploy 14,000 megawatts of off-grid renewable vitality for the duration of sub-Saharan Africa starting with Nigeria, the place it has partnered with many solar corporations and installers.

OWS no longer too lengthy previously issued the principle sequence of its ₦10 Billion ($24.33 million) Inexperienced Bond in Nigeria. The issuance comprises a ₦2 Billion ($4.9 million) 7-year Inexperienced Bond Grief and a ₦1 Billion ($2.4 million) 7-year Inexperienced Sukuk Grief.

“This issuance has enabled us to commercially roll out our two flagship merchandise – CHI OMA being the IoT-enabled Digital Resources & Hardware Expertise, and AMINA being the Superior Synthetic Intelligence Map Expertise,” Adeojo said. 

The OWS CHI OMA system. Photograph credit score: OneWattSolar

The bond issuance is the principle of its kind in diverse categories. In Africa, it’s the principle corporate inexperienced bond for off-grid renewable vitality projects, corporate inexperienced Sukuk, and company joint inexperienced bond and inexperienced Sukuk. Globally, it’s precise the 13th inexperienced Sukuk – a sharia-compliant monetary instrument that’s cherish bonds and ancient in Islamic finance.

Issuing bonds isn’t standard practice among startups however Adeojo explains that it’s a “logical switch” as the kind of OWS projects requires lengthy-term funding. “The issuance would possibly well also attract institutional traders in investing in the inexperienced economy.”

Despite being a startup, OWS certified for the bond issuance as a consequence of a substitute of reasons Adeojo cited: a “bankable” change mannequin, be conscious file in Nigeria’s renewable vitality dwelling, sound corporate governance, a sturdy and experienced team, and diverse other worldwide advisers that present technical assistance.

The new capital injection would possibly well well perhaps also just silent help the corporate energy its ambition of connecting up to 1,000,000 homes for the duration of the continent that are with out electricity.

“As a tech company, we watch forward to developing and rolling out new buyer-centric merchandise, alongside the issuance of more inexperienced bonds and Sukuks, as we expend this issuance to initiate the principle step of our crawl of 1,000,000 miles,” Adeojo said.

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