Tag: sun

14
Sep

The use of Solar and the Blockchain in Southeast Asia Startup BitLumens

Using blockchain and solar energy, UN- and World Bank-endorsed startup company, BitLumens has been tooling its solar home technology to bring electricity and financial inclusion to underserved populations. Myanmar and Indonesia are BitLumens’s first Southeast Asia stops.

Founding CEO Veronica Garcia spoke with Southeast Asia Globe about their plans to lease solar systems to power off-the-grid households, and we (Eyekandi-Solar) decided to share the interview with you.

Tell us a bit about BitLumens…
We’re bringing solar home systems and mini-grid into off-grid communities – so these are communities that are not connected to the power lines. We have some sensors added into these [leased solar power] machines that collect information from each use… such as power generation, power consumption and also carbon mitigation… Before we install these devices, our agents collect KYC, or know-your-customer data, on each of the users, so we would collect things like how many people are within that household, what are their wages, what type of floor do they have… All of this information goes into the blockchain – this KYC combined with the transaction data. These people pay for the devices every month, and… [we] give a [score based on their payment history] so that at the end of the payment period, they will have a credit score, which works as a financial identity where they could either open a bank account or they could have access to a micro loan that would be backed by BLS [BitLumens] tokens.

Are the BLS coins environmentally friendly to mine?
Yes, of course. We use Ethereum [blockchain], and Ethereum uses proof of stake that uses way less energy consumption [to mine than] Bitcoin. As you know, Bitcoin takes around 40 terawatt hours to operate. We don’t accept Bitcoins in the first place because we don’t think it’s very environmentally friendly. We try to stay in protocols that need less computational power.

BitLumens combines blockchain technology and solar energy to bring electricity to those not connected to the main grid Image supplied by SEA-Globe

BitLumens combines blockchain technology and solar energy to bring electricity to those not connected to the main grid
Image supplied by SEA-Globe

Why is BitLumens important to countries like Myanmar and Indonesia?
I do anticipate a decentralised energy system in these types of regions where the power lines cannot reach small communities. In these regions, 1 kilometre of power lines costs around half a million dollars. If you need to run, let’s say, 100 kilometres of power lines until you reach a community of 2,000 users, there is no way that the utility company will do that. However, if you collect the data and tell them this is how much we generate, this is how much they consume and this is how much they pay, things are totally different and one would be able to find partnerships where one could place [solar home] mini-grids. 

Do you have future plans for expansion in other parts of Southeast Asia?
Yes, Indonesia is also an important market for us. We are looking at places like Nosatangara, this is at the southernmost part of Indonesia. There are thousands of people who are not connected to a grid, so we are looking at a place where we could actually place a pilot there… We have partnered with a really good organisation there and the UN was really good to set up all of these connections for us, so we are happy to be announcing that pretty soon… and then we will immediately start the deployment.

More information about BitLumens can be found here, and the original article published by SEA-Globe can be found here.

19
Feb

Power of the Sun

Wandee Khunchornyakong built the first solar farm in Thailand eight years ago. Her company is now the largest solar power supplier in the region. See the original post here from the Bangkok Post

EARLY BIRD

Wandee Khunchornyakong always wakes up at around 5 am. As chairperson and CEO of Solar Power Company Group (SPCG), she likes to start her day when the sun rises.

Her working day ends late. She goes to bed at midnight. Hard work is her routine, which she has kept from a young age. She turns 60 this year, but retirement is not part of the plan.

Wandee built her first – and Thailand’s first – solar farm in 2010. Since then her company has grown in leaps and bounds. SPCG now has 43 subsidiaries. From its headquarters in Thong Lor, it manages 36 solar farms and has expanded the business to Japan and other ASEAN countries. Today SPCG is the largest solar-power-generating company in Southeast Asia.

As a working woman – one of only a handful in the energy industry – she never thought that her dream of generating clean energy would become the huge business it is now.

“I am not somebody who comes from a family with a big name. When I returned to work after early retirement, I chose a business that was innovative and of the kind that nobody had done before,” she said, recalling her original decision to set up the company in 2009.

Wandee had worked as an executive at several companies in different fields, including a solar-cell company. She stepped down in 2006, at the age of 48, to pursue a PhD in Educational Leadership at Suan Dusit University. She thought she would become a teacher in her senior years. But destiny had other plans.

power of the sun_wandee

VISIONARY MIND

Back in 2008, the government announced a policy to promote renewable energy development. It offered a 25-year licence for private companies to operate solar-power plants and feed electricity to the utility grid of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA).

At that time, the solar-farm business was in its infancy and wasn’t a priority for financial creditors. For almost a year after the policy was announced, no company applied for a license.

When Wandee learned about the government’s initiative from Dr Piyasawat Amaranand, the former Energy Minister of Surayud Chulanont’s government, it motivated her to research the solar-power-plant business.

“I was interested in solar power because it’s a global trend. I know green technology will be the future for Thailand,” she said.

She spent months studying the business possibilities until she was certain she would have a chance at success. Thailand has strong solar-radiation levels throughout the year when compared to other countries in the region, and even developed countries where solar farms have been implemented, such as Germany and Japan.

“With the same investment for setting up a solar-power plant, a solar farm in Thailand will have more energy output, perhaps double to triple that of developed countries. I knew the possibility of success was high and the risk for failure was very low,” she said.

Get in touch with our Eyekandi Solar team to get a quote for your own solar installation.