10Power in B the Change podcast by LIFT Economy

Listen here: http://www.bthechange.com/stories/people/leadership/podcast-ceo-10-power-promise-solar/

In this episode of Next Economy Now, Erin Axelrod, a Partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Sandra Kwak, Founder and CEO of 10Power, a woman-owned company that finances renewable energy in developing communities.

Sandra and Erin discuss the opportunities of bringing solar to countries like Haiti – where the most recent Hurricane Matthew has caused an extraordinary amount of devastation and destruction and yet where there is so much potential to build a regenerative economy leveraging cutting edge renewable energy technology.

As you’ll hear, Sandra is enthusiastic about the promise of solar, especially for the potential it offers to communities who are currently lacking access to electricity. For these countries, it offers a way to modernize in a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable manner than what fossil fuels have offered since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

In this interview, Erin and Sandra discuss a number of topics, including:

  • How “third-party financing” spurred the adoption of solar in the US, and how 10Power is leveraging that to springboard adoption of solar in Haiti.
  • Why solar is the backbone of a local, living economy
  • The importance of building ownership. The 10Power model fosters local ownership of the companies and all installations are done via a pay-to-own model.
  • Why fossil fuels are “not a good investment anymore.”
  • The importance of the divestment movement – the largest movement to divest from fossil fuels in financial history.
  • Gender equality as a key element that is driving 10Power’s business model

To listen to this podcast, please click the image at the top of the article.

10Power Featured in GreenBiz

More electricity  is coming to the rural Global South, bit by bit, as renewable projects light up remote villages and hospitals, individual huts and large water treatment plants. There are 1.2 billion people estimated not long ago to live without electricity.

But electrification isn’t arriving in these rural swatch of the globe the way it did in the richer countries of the north. That playbook was thrown out, for the most part.

Instead, just as telephony spread to the far reaches of the globe because of adoption of untethered cell phones, electricity is arriving in remote areas often in the form of standalone micro-grids of solar or wind generating devices connected to inverters and storage.

Sometimes, it’s a single solar panel boxed with an inverter and strapped on the rooftop of a home, providing light to that home and enough power to charge a cell phone.

Investment in renewable energy projects in the developing world account for the majority of the $329 billion invested yearly in new renewable endeavors, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

For one: Renewable energy projects are generally cheaper than building a fossil fuel burning utility and stringing transmission lines across vast deserts and grasslands.

Two: Smart meters and Internet of Things technologies make it easy to connect electricity users with their power usage and offer payment options such as pay-as-you-go. The result is pricing that makes electricity more obtainable.

Below are key lessons from energy entrepreneurs.

Many more lessons about what off-grid countries can teach the developed world will be discussed at VERGE 16 this week in Santa Clara, California.

Engage and use local talent

When entrepreneur Sandra Kwak, founder of 10Power, set about to bring electricity and clean water to communities in Haiti, she started with due diligence of the market and visited lots of electrification projects.

Sadly she visited too many projects that sounded great on paper but that had stopped functioning because of a broken part or needed maintenance, with nobody local given the tools or training to do the repairs.

“There is a significant local skill base in Haiti and the projects that have been successful are the ones that utilized Haitian suppliers, Haitian installers and Haitian financers,” she said in an interview with GreenBiz.

10Power has completed two renewable power electricity projects on water sanitation plants that have brought not only clean water and electricity to thousands of residents but predictable sustained financial returns that allow 10Power to reinvest in new projects.

Her advice: When people on the ground have a stake in the success of a program it will keep going, with maintenance, engineering, customer engagement and delivery.

Use IoT and cloud-based data and communications connectivity

Andy Bogdan Bindea, founder of Sigora Solar and its Sigora Haiti subsidiary, has built a micro utility in Haiti.

He said he  is following the old fashion utility business model except for two very important differences: First, he uses only clean solar energy. Next, he deployed smart grid, cloud-based Internet of Things connectivity to give customers exact information about their usage and allow the grid to have a precise demand response system of delivering only as much electricity as needed in a given area or by a given customer.

“Everybody has the belief that utility are big, slow, environmentally dirty, 100 years behind the time curve, basically 800-pound guerillas. Basically that is true. However, it doesn’t have to be that way,” he told GreenBiz.

“We’ve taken a very traditional business model of a private utility company — you create kilowatt hours of electricity and sell them — a  model that worked for a century but we added modifications: We wanted all our energy to be generated from renewables and all our meters to be smart meters. They are prepaid, demand controllable that can move (energy load) up and down by community, customer or customer type.”

Negotiating to use the abandoned transmission lines from a formerly municipal-run electric system in Mole St. Nicolas, Sigora built a small utility that currently has 750 paying customers but can scale up. Bindea figures it is serving about 3,750 people. Over the next 12 months, it will also be building 2.2 MWp of wind and 1.2 MWp of solar in a project expected to serve 136,000 customers.

Two towns in the Mole St. Nicolas area have microgrids. “Each can function independently but we are interconnecting all of these towns with low-cost, effectively deployed distribution lines. That increases reliability and allows us to collocate all our generation infrastructure and reduce the price of our renewable power by 30 percent,” he claimed. Sigora Haiti’s new wind and solar project will reach through six townships.

The prepaid service allowed by smart meter connectivity with individual customers has provided an incentive for them to not miss payments: You stop paying, you stop getting power.

Neighbors are the best marketers

Greenlight Planet builds and sells small solar powered electric systems that light up a house and charge a phone. Its SunKing products have been sold to 6 million households in 54 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia. Greenlight Planet estimates it has brought power to 20 million people that had been living without electricity.

The keys to its success?

  •  A durable, unfailing product that gets high ratings among users.
  •  Pay as you go, financing that makes electricity as cheap as 15 cents a day.
  •  Neighbor to neighbor marketing.

“We started with the idea that the poorest peope in the world make the shrewdest financial decisions,” said Thakkar. And he believes they have proved their point.

“Our first customer was an old gentleman in a small village. Everyone in the village came out to listen to our presentation. He asked two or three questions and then went back in his hut and came out with 1,000 rupees, which was the equivalent of about $20. He said, ‘Great, give it to me,'” he recalled of the 2008 start of the company.

From that one man understanding the value of electricity — the value of having light at night so his kids can study, or to be able to charge up a cell phone and stay connected to the world including to nearby city markets for your crops and of being able to have a small TV or radio for entertainment and news — the village was convinced.

“People are wiling to spend a month of income up front because they understood,” Thakkar said. “For quality of life, electricity is pretty fantastic,” and people will pay for that.

Greenlight Planet has changed its model as it moved into poorer countries. In Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Senegal it offers pay as you go, “you pay something each day,” for electricity. “If you miss a payment, the lights go off, but you can pick it back up again” by paying. “We have found this has incredible impact on affordability for customers and adoption rates.”

Its product never fails — it gets top rating on Amazon by all its reviewers. But the biggest key to its sales? Local sales people.

“We sell through a network of village agents. We recruit someone from the village who becomes the first user or customer and then the go door to door and explain the benefits of a product and sell it to their neighbor,” Thakkar said.

“It is a powerful thing. When your neighbor says I’ve been using this lamp and it works so well my kids study by it and we don’t have smoke in our house anymore and I can change my phone by it, it give people permission to take that jump too.”

Is it a lesson for the already developed world in how to grow renewable use?

“I come back to my parents’ home in a suburb in New Jersey and someone there decided they’d put solar on their roof. The idea of spending $30,000 on solar equipment is scary until a neighbor does it. Now in the neighborhood — on the blocks around the house I grew up in — one in every five houses has solar panels.”

Bingo.

 

Author: Barbara Grady

Published by GreenBiz Group

Date: Monday, September 19, 2016

Link to Article: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/what-grid-countries-can-teach-us-about-clean-power

10Power Presents Case for Solar Policy in Haiti

September 16-17, Port Au Prince, Haiti – For the first time in Haiti, the AmCham Haiti Energy Committee has personally invited key government officials, law and decision makers from every aspect of the energy sector value chain: production, importation, distribution and mining. In addition to regulators and the public, private sector participants will represent:

• Fuel Importers

• Electrical Installation Suppliers

• Electrical Appliances suppliers

• Energy Production Products

• Energy Producers/Retailers

• Energy Projects Contractors

• Renewable and Alternative Energies

Energy is a must for everyone. This conference will be held to inform stakeholders of Haiti’s current situation, future potential and provide informative sessions on how individuals can save on consumption and help improve Haiti’s energy future.

Sandra Kwak, CEO and Founder of 10Power will present Renewable Energy Tax and Incentive Opportunities on Saturday, September 17th at 1:00pm, providing an overview of successful energy policies in the Caribbean and US, outlining possibilities for the growth of the solar industry in Haiti.  

For more information visit: http://files.constantcontact.com/5ad538ba101/286bf533-c9a4-440f-84d4-9b2002138ec8.pdf

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Join 10Power at VERGE

Thursday, September 22, from 3:30-4:30pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center 10Power will be one of the panelists in the session:

Two-Way Street: What Off Grid Countries Can Teach The Rest of the World

How are developing countries creating clean energy infrastructure best practices that can be brought back to developed economies?  This panel will share ways they are pioneering energy technology and financial innovations from the developing world and translate these learnings to ‘modern’ economies.

Featuring:

  • David Crane – Senior Operating Executive @ Pegasus Capital Advisors (and former CEO @ NRG). Note that David will be in a keynote discussion the same morning, so he can tease this session from the main stage if relevant.
  • Justin Guay – Program Officer, Climate @ David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Sandra Kwak – Founder and CEO @ 10Power
  • Andy Bogdan Bindea – Founder and President @ Sigora Solar
  • Moderator: Susan Gladwin – President of Gladwin Consulting – will lead the discussion among all panelists and provide context as necessary.

VERGE is a global event series focusing on the technologies and systems that accelerate sustainability solutions across sectors in a climate-constrained world. VERGE events have been held in Shanghai, London, Boston, Honolulu, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo and Washington, D.C. The flagship event is held each fall in Silicon Valley, the world’s innovation hub.

Register at https://www.greenbiz.com/events/verge/santa-clara/2016

10Power Participates in Accelerating Access to Clean Energy, Hosted by the U.S. Department of State

Over 1 billion people globally lack access to electricity and another billion lack access to reliable

energy. 87% of those without electricity access live in rural areas. Providing access to energy

results in a variety of benefits across the education, health, social, and economic sectors. It

enables student to study at night, improving grades and graduation rates. Access also

facilitates irrigation, increasing production and food security. Energy access also can increase

household income over 50%, spurring economic growth and opportunities, as well as the

creation of new markets.

Advances in clean energy technology not only better enable those without electricity to gain

access but also enable them to leapfrog traditional methods of power generation and

distribution. A number of new start-up companies have developed successful business models

to bring clean energy to off-grid populations. However, these efforts alone are not enough to

meet the drastically rising demand for electricity across the developing world, its increasing

importance to economic prosperity, and the urgent imperative to meet the objectives of the Paris

Agreement which includes significantly reducing global carbon emissions.

Increases in technological innovation are needed across the sector, ranging from battery

storage and energy efficient appliances to expanding business models beyond solar home

systems to mini-grids and community-wide solutions. Additionally, we must find ways to

empower and enable the growth of energy entrepreneurs across the globe, eliminate barriers for

entry of new enterprises, and scale solutions that are working.

The Accelerating Access to Clean Energy Around the World workshop will convene key

stakeholders from across Silicon Valley — including tech companies, investors, foundations,

NGOs, government, and academia — to develop new technological approaches to tackling this

challenge. Building on earlier events, this workshop will move beyond identifying the barriers to

accelerating access by generating ambitious and impactful proposals to overcome barriers to

entry and scale. We will bring together not just experts in renewable energy but also those on

the cutting-edge of intersecting technology trends, such as expanding internet access, mobile

payments and platforms, cloud storage, and data analytics. The workshop also aims to identify

champions to develop solutions to advance these new ideas and specific mechanisms.

The workshop will be interactive and focus on roll-up-your-sleeves problem-solving. Long-time

energy specialists will work side-by-side with innovators from other sectors who can bring new

perspectives to the challenge. Every attendee will be a participant.

This event is part of the State Department’s recently-launched Innovation Forum and Silicon

Valley presence, with a mission to build bridges between policymakers and innovators to tackle

the most pressing global challenges.

10Power Presents at Solar Head of State Event

Solar in paradise – How the Caribbean can lead the renewable revolution

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Join 10Power CEO and Founder, Sandra Kwak; Managing Director at the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) and Sungevity Founder, Danny Kennedy; Solar Guru for USAID’s Caribbean Clean Energy Program, Senior Fellow for UC Berkeley’s Renewable Appropriate Energy Laboratory, and Chief Executive Officer of dissigno, David Williams; and Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering, Dr. Daniel Kammen. 

This panel will discuss how the island region of the Caribbean has come to be at the forefront of the renewable energy movement, with some of the highest targets for renewable electricity generation in the world. Islands are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and were a key block in achieving the ambitious targets made at COP21 for a reduction in fossil fuel emissions, but many also have their own ambitious goals on carbon emissions. The geography of the Caribbean also means that these islands have some of the world’s highest electricity prices with some reaching US$0.52/KWh. This present an interesting opportunity for local and US businesses to develop renewables, and this panel will discuss:

  • Why is the Caribbean so well suited for renewable development?
  • What is the potential impact of renewable energy for economic development in the region?
  • What are the investment opportunities for US companies? What barriers need to be overcome to invest in the Caribbean?

There will be a discussion of specific national contexts including Haiti and Jamaica, and the impact of the political and economic differences between them for renewable technologies. There will then be time for questions from the floor.

This event is hosted by Solar Head of State, a nonprofit that aims to catalyze the movement to renewable energy with high profile installations on government buildings. In September, Solar Head of State will install solar panels on Government House, Saint Lucia, the official residence of the Governor-General. In early 2017 more projects will be installed across the Caribbean including Belize, Jamaica, Guyana and Antigua.

Schedule

6:30pm – Networking with drinks and food
7:00pm – Panel discussion
7:45pm – Q&A

 

10Power Provides Solar for Water Purification Centers in Haiti

10Power Provides Solar for Water Purification Centers in Haiti
Company Providing Global Renewable Energy Access Announces First Projects

A crew from Greentec, a local Haitian solar company, installs panels on water purification sites in Courjolle, Haiti. Third party finance for the project was provided by 10Power.
A crew from Greentec, a local Haitian solar company, installs panels on water purification sites in Courjolle, Haiti. Third party finance for the project was provided by 10Power.

San Francisco, CA – 10Power, a mission-driven business providing renewable energy internationally to populations without access to electricity, is proud to announce their first two energy storage and solar projects in Haiti on water purification centers owned by DloHaiti, an organization providing potable water in underserved communities.

Located in the communities of Corail and Courjolle, North of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, both projects include energy storage, solar PV generation and asset tracking technology. Working with validated local installer, Greentec, who will provide ongoing operations and maintenance on the equipment, 10Power provided project development and third-party finance enabling the installations.

“Paying for solar month by month means dloHaiti can dedicate more capital to our core purpose of providing clean drinking water to the Bottom of the Pyramid,” said DloHaiti founder, Jim Chu. “It is unacceptable that people are still dying of easily preventable diseases like cholera and dysentery. We want to reach as many communities as we can, as quickly as possible and 10Power is helping us achieve this.”

Third-party finance is the missing piece 10Power provides to enable energy access for the 1.3 Billion people, or 19% of humanity, who do not have electricity today.  Beginning in Haiti, where over 60% of the population does not have access to the grid, 10Power is creating a globally scalable model for clean development powered by renewable energy.   

The announcement was made at the seventh annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7), where energy ministers from countries around the world gathered, hosted by Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, to discuss next steps to address climate change following the COP21 climate talks held in Paris in December. 10Power was featured in the CEM7 Startups and Solutions Showcase featuring companies competitively selected from around the world for their cutting edge work.

“We are thrilled to announce our first projects at such a prestigious event,” said 10Power CEO and Founder Sandra Kwak. “The collaboration between policy and business leaders represented at CEM7 is a big step towards rapidly accelerating the innovation needed to reverse climate change.”

 

About 10Power

10Power provides energy storage and renewable generation internationally to communities that lack access to electricity. Coupling project development with the third-party finance model that created exponential growth in the US to the global solar market, 10Power is bringing the building blocks for sustainable modernization to 1.3 Billion human beings. For more information visit www.10pwr.com.

About Greentec

Greentec is a Haitian owned and operated green energy provider committed to building a stronger Haiti through sustainable energy. Greentec provides innovative solutions for clean energy including engineering and design adapted to the local environment, superior quality products, professional installation, ongoing support and maintenance. For more information, visit www.greentecsa.com.

About DloHaiti

DloHaiti’s core operation and brand is based on local production and distribution of clean drinking water in underserved rural and peri-urban communities where public infrastructure isn’t enough to meet growing demand.  DloHaiti’s model creates cost-effective micro-distribution networks that resolve difficult logistical and inventory financing challenges for small, predominantly women-operated retailers at the Bottom of the Pyramid. For more information, visit www.dlohaiti.com.

About CEM7

The Clean Energy Ministerial is the follow-up meeting to the COP21 U.N. Convention of Parties climate change talks December 2016 in Paris. Participating energy ministries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For more information visit www.cem7.org.

Join 10Power and Energy Excelerator at VERGE Hawaii

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Tuesday, June 21 at 3:15 pm – Honolulu, Hawaii – 10Power will present in the Accelerate program on the main stage at VERGE Hawaii to a live audience of business leaders, government officials and investors, as well as to a global online audience. As winner of the VERGE Accelerate San Jose pitch competition, 10Power was fast tracked to present at VERGE Hawaii. Winners of VERGE Hawaii Accelerate will get fast track access into the Energy Excelerator’s application process. Winners will receive personal and dedicated contact with the EEx review team, which get companies a significant step closer to being a part of their 2017 cohort.

The Energy Excelerator is a program that funds and accelerates innovative startups solving the world’s energy challenges with support from the U.S. Office of Na val Research, U.S. Department of Energy, State of Hawaii, and our corporate partners.

For more on the Energy Excelerator, visit: http://energyexcelerator.com/

For more on VERGE, visit: https://www.greenbiz.com/events/verge/honolulu/2016

10Power Featured in CEM7 Coverage

CEM7

Energy ministers from around the world converged with business and NGO leaders and entrepreneurs in downtown San Francisco on June 1 for the first day of the Clean Energy Ministerial 7th gathering (CEM7) to figure out how to transition the world to clean energy.

But it was entrepreneurs and businesses that got things going.  In a vast tent in San Francisco’s iconic union square across from where the ministers met, some 93 entrepreneurs and businesses exhibited their wares — everything from microgrids in a box to 3D printed electric cars.

For more visit https://www.greenbiz.com/article/bold-goals-cem7-philips-projects-2-billion-leds-sold

Visit 10Power at the Clean Energy Ministerial

Clean Energy Ministerial

The United States will host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in San Francisco, California, on June 1 & 2, 2016. The Clean Energy Ministerial is the follow-up meeting to the COP21 U.N. Convention of Parties climate change talks last December in Paris. The participating energy ministries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

CEM7 will bring the global energy policymakers together with visionaries from the business and investment communities and other clean energy experts to drive high-impact, real-world action. In addition to ministerial working sessions and public-private roundtable discussions, CEM7 will feature a clean energy action day with opportunities for the energy ministers and business leaders to highlight ambitious clean energy efforts and announce new actions to help achieve national and global clean energy goals. A two-day tented technology exhibit in San Francisco’s Union Square will showcase clean energy technologies and innovative business models driving clean energy deployment around the world.

Come and visit 1oPower is booth #348.

Learn more at www.cem7.org