Our tagline:Wattero deploys peer-to-peer solar energy-sharing networks in areas without electricity in rural Ivory Coast.
Our pitch:In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are 600 million people living without access to electricity. Although energy from the sun is abundant and increasingly more solar equipment manufacturers start selling in the area, the high upfront cost of a solar home system is a barrier many poor households struggle to overcome.
In Wattero our ambition is to make energy affordable for everyone. Not only do we offer inexpensive and durable solar home systems that can be purchased in easy-to-pay installments, but unlike everyone else, we connect them together creating a peer-to-peer solar energy sharing marketplace. There, excess power can be traded, allowing households to earn money by selling energy to the remaining users within the network. The customers can choose whether they want to commit to buying a hardware and becoming an energy provider, or remaining flexible, connecting to the energy of others, and paying only for what they use. Wattero will generate revenue by charging a small fee for every unit of energy used within the network.
The initial market for Wattero is Ivory Coast, specifically 63.5% of the rural population, estimated 7,8 million people who lack access to electricity. These are mostly farmers as two-thirds of the population are employed in the agriculture sector, which represents 30% of GDP and 70% of export earnings.
We want to use the power of individuals to light up entire communities in Africa and bring equal opportunities to everyone.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Cote d'Ivoire
If you selected other, please explain the dimension of the Challenge your solution addresses here:
Our solution's stage of development:
What makes our solution innovative:Because Wattero's revenue will come directly from electricity consumption within the network, it will last continuously as long as customers use our devices. An average lifespan for a solar panel is around 20 years. Furthermore, we plan to generate an additional profit from selling household devices from our portfolio. We will also sell solar kits on little-to-no margin to keep very competitive position in price-sensitive market.
How technology is integral to our solution:We have observed a great local interest in adopting solar solutions. Furthermore, we developed connections and understood the dynamics of the environment that is necessary to navigate this fragmented market. Based on our experiences and to overcome the limitations of the current business strategy, we designed a pivot that is going to transform our business. Beyond empowering local communities via access to electricity and making it an additional source of income, the new peer-to-peer model will be scalable, sustainable and easy to implement across different geographies.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:We want to crowdfund EUR 175.000 and bring electricity to 11.500 people. Our next big milestone is setting up a partnership with a pay-as-you-go provider that will streamline the payment collection. In the Q1 2019 we plan to launch our first peer-to-peer solar energy sharing pilot. We want to develop the team both locally in Ivory Coast to cope with the outpouring customer demand/follow-up with the previous projects and in Europe to strengthen our IT capabilities prior to the energy sharing model launch.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:Our vision is to bring affordable solar energy to everyone. We believe that access to energy is central to issues such as security, climate change, food production, and strengthening economies while protecting ecosystems. It has been proven that increased access to electricity improves education, entertainment, health, comfort, protection, and productivity. In five years, thanks to the power of blockchain, we have an ambition to be the biggest solar energy sharing marketplace in Africa.
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:Most of our customers are farmers that live in rural area of Ivory Coast. Almost two-thirds of the country's population is employed in the agriculture sector. The primary market for Wattero is 63.5 % of the rural population, an estimated 7.8 million people who lack access to electricity. Because of their low and unstable earnings they have been previously excluded from any mass effort to bring power to their homes. Including them in solar energy and enabling them to trade the excess to earn an additional income or to offset solar equipment cost will connect them to the outside world.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:Our first project - Project Godjibou√© provided access to solar energy for 375 people. Next one - Project Sassandra will bring electricity to 11.500 individuals.
Explaining our organization:
Wattero (formerly Power Up) is a startup based in Oslo, Norway that was founded in 2017. The company started with an ambition to find a sustainable way to end energy poverty. The motivation was to improve the lives of people by providing access to clean energy in underserved areas. Wattero has already started running the first projects in rural Ivory Coast. The business model that was initially explored involved offering off-grid solar home systems on a lease-to-own basis. Based on our experiences from the pilot, the company decided to transition towards peer-to-peer solar energy sharing concept.
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:Wattero was founded by Espen Sand and Elisabeth Stava. Espen is a CEO of Wattero. He studied Economics and leadership at HiO and Electrical Engineering at NTNU. Espen has previous leadership and startup experience. Elisabeth is a co-founder and regional manager responsible for the development of the projects in Ivory Coast. She completed studies in Human Geography at the University of Oslo and undertaken the Master Summer Programme Social Entrepreneurship with the University of Oslo and Social Enterprise Academy in Cape Town. She has experience working with NGOs and social enterprises in Haiti, South Africa, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Our revenue model:Wattero delivers solar panels that bring electricity to underserved areas in Ivory Coast. Our company not only facilitates financing of solar panels by splitting the upfront cost for customers into easy to pay installments but also enables trading of excess energy between households, opening up a possibility for an additional income stream. This way economic advantages flow back into the community empowering its further growth. It is our utmost priority to provide the best price-quality ratio for our devices. Because the revenue will come primarily from charging a small fee for every unit of energy used within the network, we are able to offer the most price-competitive devices on the market. Our solar panels will be modular allowing for seamless expansion into a bigger setup. After implementing peer-to-peer energy model where transactions will be made via pay-as-you-go system that allows end-users use mobile money to pay for solar energy in instalments, we plan to rollout a portfolio of household devices. In the later stage, we want to use blockchain to record all our transactions within the network and facilitate expansion to other countries.
Why we are applying to Solve:At the moment our focus is to prepare everything for running a peer-to-peer energy sharing pilot. We need more personnel hired locally in Ivory Coast to both follow-up on existing projects as well as look for new areas to expand. In addition, we want to strengthen our IT capabilities and create a team able to digitally support our platform. Currently we are evaluating various ways to facilitate the physical connection between the panels. Initially, we will invest in the cabling ourselves, in the future we plan to rent them to internet providing companies.
The key barriers for our solution:1. Repayment of the equipment - transparent and consistent repayment processes must be put in place.
2. Local administration - For the peer-to-peer model, Wattero will have to provide a physical connection between the panels.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: