OneWattSolar, a startup based in Lagos has come up with a way of allowing thousands of Africans to pay for solar energy using blockchain tokens without having to pay for the solar system infrastructure, which is funded through financial backers.
It was a concept Victor Alagbe, the company’s vice president of operations and blockchain strategy, had been thinking on when reading about Elon Musk. The aim is for customers to purchase tokens in the local naira currency using the platforms of third party tech finance companies. “It provides transparency, you can see the utilization of funds, how many systems we have purchased and how many are being used.” The tokens used have been built on the blockchain platform, Ethereum.
On a traditional service using fossil fuels, energy usage is around 70 Nigerian naira ($0.19) per kilowatt. “But the blockchain system is 50 percent cheaper than diesel,” claims Alagbe because the expensive maintenance costs of generators is mitigated. Instead 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.
Although the startup has only been eight months in the making, it’s part of GoSolar Africa, a renewable energy company that’s been operating in Africa since 2010. The plan is to launch in January 2019 with an initial 1,000 systems that are fully operational the company said.