SOLshare: Building the energy utility of the future in Bangladesh
Which country in the world has the largest number of installed solar home systems? The answeris not in Europe, but Bangladesh with more than 5 million household solar energy producers. That is where innogy New Ventures LLC, the Silicon Valley based arm of the innogy Innovation Hub arm has completed its latest investment in SOLshare, a multi award-winning business that brings affordable solar electricity to communities in Bangladesh and beyond through its peer-to-peer solar energy trading platform.
The investment represents a highly successful outcome of the Free Electrons accelerator programme, where the innogy Innovation Hub first discovered this pioneering young Bangladeshi company that is dedicated to building the energy utility of the future. Portugese utility, EDP and the Singaporean IIX Growth Fund also took part in the US$1.66M series ‘A’ funding round.
Back in 2015, SOLshare established the world’s first peer-to-peer solar energy grid in a remote area of Bangladesh. Their SOLbox meter allows solar entrepreneurs to sell their excess energy to other consumers using a smart direct current grid. As an advanced developing market with lowregulation, Bangladesh represents an ideal environment to discover the technical and commercial potential for micro grids.
SOLshare has recently been accepted into the Technical Pioneers Program of the World Economic Forum, an annual list of the world’s most innovative companies. It is now looking to expand its micro grid technology to enable more communities to share and monetise energy, making it a perfect fit with innogy’s investment focus area of digital disruption.
With this new cash injection, SOLshare, will continue to grow its technical team and build upon its early market success. Through existing partnerships, the company has so far gained access to more than three million installed solar home systems in the remote areas of Bangladesh. SOLshare next aims to expand its presence in Bangladesh and India, to the rest of Asia, a region in which there are an estimated 700 million people without access to electricity.
Dr. Sebastian Groh, Managing Director and Founder of ME SOLshare, said: “We strongly believe that the new energy world is fuelled by the 5 D’s: Decentralization, Decarbonization, Digitization, Democratization and Disruption. We are extremely honoured and grateful that partners from innogy, EDP, and IIX have put their trust in us in shaping this new energy future. The aim is to create efficient and dynamic local energy markets that empower households and encourage solar entrepreneurism, starting in Bangladesh, followed by India before the end of this year and eventually on a global scale.”
Stefan Padberg, Managing Director of innogy New Ventures commented, “SOLshare’s vision and mission has immediately convinced us. We have a unique vision of the future of energy driven by the idea of disruption through digitalisation. SOLshare solves an immediate customer problem of today – the physical access to energy – and enables their customers to produce, trade and consume this demand in a local micro grid. The Bangladeshi and neighboring markets are an ideal environment for sustainable growth. We’re excited to be part of this journey”.
ABOUT ME SOLSHARE
SOLshare is making affordable clean energy accessible to those underserved by the national energy grid and power generation system by offering the world’s first peer-to-peer solar electricity trading platform for off-grid households in Bangladesh. SOLshare’s platform interconnects users with and without solar home systems (SHS) to a smart direct-current grid, while empowering communities to be solar entrepreneurs by selling their excess energy. The company strongly believes that the smart peer to peer grids it is building in Bangladesh and India can be the future of utilities globally. – www.me-solshare.com