A clean energy startup, OneWattSolar, is changing the way Nigerians can access power as it allows people to pay for solar energy using blockchain tokens without having to pay for the solar system infrastructure, which is funded through financial backers.
Victor Alagbe, the company’s vice president of operations and blockchain strategy, said that the aim is for customers to purchase tokens in the local naira currency using the platforms of third party tech finance companies.
“They can’t afford the startup cost so most people would rather go for generators which is not economical when you think of maintenance costs and it also provides transparency, you can see the utilization of funds, how many systems we have purchased and how many are being used,” he said.
The tokens used have been built on the popular blockchain platform, Ethereum, and while on a traditional service using fossil fuels, energy usage is around N70 ($0.19) per kilowatt, “blockchain system is 50 percent cheaper than diesel,” claims Alagbe because the expensive maintenance costs of generators is mitigated.
OneWattSolar’s systems will include solar panels and a fitted internet enabled router that will automatically collect data on energy usage that is charged monthly on a pay as you go basis.
“This will ensure that customers are billed for exactly what they use,” said Alagbe.
It is also hoped it will alert OneWattSolar to any potential problems with the systems in real-time.
The company is looking to launch in January 2019 with an initial 1,000 systems that are fully operational, “so far there are 6,400 homes who have signed up to be put on our waiting list,” said Alagbe.
According to him, the long term goal is to connect one million homes by 2025 across Sub-Saharan Africa without electricity with solar energy through blockchain.