Buying renewable energy with cryptocurrency is the goal an African startup based in Nigeria hopes to achieve.
OneWattSolar is a startup based in sub-Saharan Africa, which plans to tokenised renewable energy by allowing users to pay for energy using blockchain based tokens.
According to the blockchain energy startup, customers will not have to pay for the solar panel system, as it is free, but comes with an internet enable router that will collect data on energy usage to ensure customers are billed exactly for what they use and also alert the company for any potential problem.
OneWattSolar is powered by the OneWattToken (OWT) which issued on the ethereum blockchain and will be available for customers to buy with the Nigerian Naira on local cryptocurrency exchanges.
BTC.ng had the opportunity to interview OneWattSolar team, which gave us some insight as to how they intend to go about it. Here’s the full interview with the clean energy startup.
Interview With OneWattSolar
What inspired OneWattSolar
OneWattSolar is inspired from the realization that access to funding has consistently proven to be a hindrance to the adoption of solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa. People don’t have enough funds to commit to an outright purchase of Solar Home Systems (SHS) that could power their homes and small businesses. People who have such funds are skeptical about making the investments because they are not convinced about the reliability of solar energy.
OneWattSolar de-risks the adoption of solar energy for our customers by providing them with solar home systems without requiring them to buy outrightly or pay for the system over installments. We also take care of the maintenance of the systems.
Would it be backed by a cryptocurrency?
OneWattSolar is powered by the One WattToken (OWT). Our token generation event will happen before the end of this year.
If yes, what is the plan for educating Africans on paying with the coins, would it be backed by Naira
Quite a number of people are familiar with Bitcoin – at least for speculative purposes. OWT is, however, a utility token that provides access to the solar energy that our systems generate. We have plans in place to educate our customers on how to purchase electricity with OWT. We are also in talks with some players in the financial services sector to create a seamless collections process.
Would there be installment payment plans?
No. We are offering Energy-As-A-Service. The customers won’t pay for the SHS system. The customers only sign a power purchase agreement that enables them to use the energy generated by the SHS.
What are the challenges faced so far, for a Blockchain startup, in Africa?
The initial push-back from stakeholders who don’t find it easy to make a distinction between bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology. OneWattSolar is a blockchain-powered project; there’s more to Blockchain than bitcoin.
Where do you see OneWattSolar in 10 years?
Our immediate target is to roll out the first 1000 installations in Q1, 2019. We are confident that we will reach our goal to roll out 1 million systems over the next five years.
Are African countries embracing blockchain enough?
We would say we have seen positively warm reception to Blockchain technology, its applications, and how its decentralized nature could solve some of the biggest systemic problems in the continent. Breaking out into the mass-market adoption of blockchain technology is still a work in progress all over the world. Projects such as OneWattSolar are pushing the frontiers of disruption towards a faster adoption of Blockchain technology.
What possibilities do you see blockchain providing, in Nigeria
We are leveraging blockchain to fix the energy deficit in the country. Many smart minds are working on interesting blockchain solutions to solve some of our biggest challenges facing the country across different industries. Wherever there’s a systemic problem due to centralization; blockchain technology allows us to change the narrative with decentralization.
What keeps OneWattSolar going?
The understanding that things might be difficult, but they are seldom impossible. We have are a committed team working practically round the clock to make solar energy accessible; we are each other’s motivators.
Africa Renewable Energy Industry
For decades now, African countries’ including Nigeria has been plagued with power supply. According to a report released in 2016 only four out of ten Africans have access to reliable power supply.
In 2017, Nigeria was ranked as the worst electricity supply nation. Another research conducted out by World Bank, shows 42 percent of Nigerians don’t have access to electricity. In a bid to tackle this problem, the renewable energy industry in Africa has been experiencing tremendous growth.
Morocco plans to power over one million homes with her solar power plant reported to be the largest in the world. Ghana early this year announced plans to increase the consumption of renewable energy by 2030 with their Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia announced all government institution would run on solar power.
OneWattSolar is a part of GoSolar Africa, a renewable energy company that’s been in operation for past eight years. The startup which is eight months old plans to begins full operation by January 2019 with a thousand solar systems.
With over 6400 homes signed up to be on the waiting list, OneWattSolar hopes to supply more than one million homes without electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa with solar energy through blockchain by 2025.
As blockchain continues to disrupt and renewable energy continues to grow, African startups like OneWattSolar stand a chance to benefit more in the long-term future.
Image Courtesy of OneWattSolar, Crediblecarbon