Three million households in the Netherlands are interested in solar but are not in suitable circumstances to install panels. Shade, shared rooftops, and the reluctance of banks to invest in small projects, all present real barriers to the wider use of solar energy.
WeShareSolar has set out to facilitate these citizens in tapping the potential of solar energy.
‘We connect solar energy projects – for example, on top of a school or agricultural shed – that need financing, with consumers who want to make a positive investment with a good and reliable return,’ explains Olieman. ‘The conventional model for energy financing does not work for solar, because banks are not in a position to finance smaller solar energy systems. WeShareSolar solves the financing problem of solar energy by connecting these projects with consumers who would like to make an impactful and profitable investment, which results in more clean solar energy.’
‘It’s our ambition to create the world’s largest virtual power plant together,’ says Olieman. ‘Over the last four years we have learned how to structure large-scale solar energy projects financed by the crowd. We have learned the technical, financial and legal issues that come with such projects, and we will pass on this knowledge to other initiatives that will be financed through our platform.’
With a two-strong staff and limited funding, WeShareSolar has already achieved a giant step towards the revolution of solar energy creation. Next year, they plan to hire an IT specialist and marketer; scaling up to four staff members to cope with the rising demand. ‘With our upcoming projects we hope to show the repeatability of our concept on a short term in the Netherlands,’ says Olieman, ‘and we are now investigating possible entry into the UK or German market for next year.’
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