Start up ecoligo has been selected as a finalist for the SET award 2021. Start Up Energy Transition is a team that selects the most promising start ups solving the challenges of the global switch to renewable energy. Since the beginning of 2020, ecoligo has expanded into markets in Vietnam and Thailand. The company has already successfully completed 73 installations across Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines, Chile, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and Thailand.
ecoligo is a success story from the clean energy generation category of the SET award and has defined itself as dedicated to creating impact in the sector by coordinating investments to build solar installations for businesses in emerging markets, uniquely providing flexible contracts ranging from 3-20 years in range.
The company was co-founded by Martin Baart and Markus Schwaninger who spent some time working to implement solar installations in Kenya and Ghana, before recognizing a gap in the funding models that was holding back installations that could dramatically reduce carbon emissions for companies in the region, and put money back in the pockets of local business owners. So Baart and Schwaninger decided to start ecoligo to fill this gap.
To build this vision, the ecoligo team has established strong relationships with their customers and hired local teams for each region to ensure trustworthy service informed by region-specific knowledge. The company identifies customers looking to switch to solar and develops the vision for the project, including total MW, cost, and location with local contractors. This project is then posted on ecoligo.investments where anyone can invest. Once the funding has been secured, the construction can begin. During the course of the contract terms, ecoligo owns the solar assets and sells energy to the business owner. At the end of the contract terms, the business owner takes on full ownership of the solar system.
For many regions in the Global South, energy access is still not stable. This unreliable electricity access can take a toll on business management, healthcare, daily activities and more. Take for example one of ecoligo’s countries of operation – Kenya – the most electrified country in East Africa, is only at an electrification rate of 75%. This means that businesses in the region may be subject to a lack or instability in their energy supply, making certain production tasks in some regions arduous or impossible. The ecoligo model positions businesses in Africa as customers to be served, offering an egalitarian stance on international development. ecoligo chose to develop solar sites in areas where it could create not only a profit for their team, but also locally rooted, sustainable opportunity for economic development in communities in the Global South.
Bright is a company that operates solar financing and installation in Mexico. The company’s founders identified that distributed energy solutions, such as rooftop solar worked well in the region. The company raises funding and offers free installation of solar panels and then sells the energy to the homeowner as a subscription service.
Sun Exchange is an alumni of the the SET100, and takes another approach to international fundraising. Its model allows international investors to fund the installation of a solar farm near schools, businesses and organizations in emerging markets. The energy produced by the installed solar farms is sold as a service, generating profits for the investors, via Bitcoin wallets, and provides clean and reliable energy for groups in the region.