Sharing by dividing – a revolutionary approach to energy creation

Show_we_share_solar_image-euroborg Business founders Sven Pluut and Matthijs Olieman are giving energy-aware citizens across the Netherlands the chance to generate solar energy for their homes, for their pockets, and for an energy-efficient Europe. By connecting large solar energy projects in need of funding with individuals interested in solar power, the team hope to revolutionise solar energy creation and ultimately harness the energy of the crowd to create the world’s largest virtual power plant.

Aims and objectives of this sustainable energy action

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.

Technical and financial implementation

‘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.’

How this action could be replicated

 ‘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.’ 

Partners

The first WeShareSolar project involved 400 participants all eager to build a solar energy system on the Euroborg football stadium of FC Groningen. The crowd included football fans as well as climate activists and the highly successful project is already in its second phase and can be tracked on the live online platform.
Through a partnership with energy company, Essent, WeShareSolar created a way for the proceeds of the panels to be manifested as a discount on investors’ own energy bill instead of in financial returns. Some investors even purchase a Flukso power meter, so that they can view their own electricity at home and compare it with the work of their solar panels at the stadium.

Contact details

e-mail: matthijs@zonnepanelendelen.nl

telephone: +31 (0)6 43063635