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10Power: Bringing renewable energy to areas of the world that do not have equal access to electricity

Redefining international development as sustainable innovation.

Photo of Sandra Kwak
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10Power provides third party finance for renewable energy projects in emerging economies and empowers communities to promote clean water, gender equality, and ecosystem restoration.

Energy is the backbone that supports advancement in quality of life, yet close to one-fifth of humans on the planet, 1.3 billion people, lack access to electricity. Without consistent power, it is impossible to provide running water, refrigeration of food or vaccines, or access to information technology and global markets. Growth in developing economies will cause the entire world’s energy usage to increase by 150% over the next 15 years. We are at the most crucial crossroad in human history. One direction carries us further down the road that degrades well-being, burns fossil fuels and emits carbon dioxide. The other path is up to us to define. Working with local partners, 10Power finances solar projects to create regenerative growth that  reduces global carbon emissions, and economically empowers stakeholders.

Imagine a woman named Angelique living in one of the worst slums in Haiti, Cité Soleil. She lives in a house with no electricity, no running water or toilet, no trash pickup. She works grueling hours in a factory, but barely makes enough money to cover her commute and a little bit of food for her and her child. She is one of the few people in her community with a job, but is she truly fortunate? 

10Power's business model disrupts the hand-to-mouth poverty cycle. We identify site-specific appropriate renewable technology, work with local suppliers to install storage, smart meters and inverters, enable customers to pay month by month for their equipment using mobile pre-pay systems, and in the commercial and industrial segment are working with local entrepreneurs to take renewable energy to their communities.

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10Power's business model is applicable all over the world. We have mapped out the geographies with the most acute energy poverty and they are actually the places with the most abundant solar generation potential on earth. 

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10Power's first market is Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. In Haiti 66% of the population does not have a connection to the electrical grid, and even those who do experience frequent blackouts and inconsistent power quality. All business owners run diesel generators, which are expensive, subject to oil price shocks, and create carbon emissions as well as black particulate matter, which causes lung cancer. The amortized cost for businesses to run diesel generators is $1.47 per kilowatt hour. This is over 10 times the price of electricity in the U.S., which averages at $0.12 per kilowatt hour.

Operating with a systems-thinking approach, 10Power has built a trust network of local installers, partners, and customers; and identified our first accounts in the water purification, agriculture, health, manufacturing, and retail segments. Our business model directly: 

  • Creates in-country green jobs with attention to gender empowerment
  • Saves businesses money on energy, which increases the local money multiplier
  • Improves air quality by decreasing black particulate matter
  • Reduces carbon emissions from diesel generators
  • Builds regenerative capacity for sustainable economic growth

Providing third party finance for renewables is a proven business model, which revolutionized the U.S. solar market and catapulted growth by introducing billions in institutional money into the sector. This eliminated the single biggest adoption barrier – high upfront cost. Access to capital opened the playing field for solar, increased demand, and in turn drove down the cost of panel production. Solar is already price competitive in energy poor areas, especially when compared to the mix of diesel, propane, kerosene, batteries, and unreliable grids that business owners are using to get by. Solar makes economic sense, but the barrier to obtaining photovoltaic technology in places like Haiti is that business owners do not have access to capital and cannot afford to divert a large capital expenditure from their operations.

After 10Power installs solar on Angelique's factory, she completes the solar technician training program and is able to go back to her home – a remote village on the coast – bringing with her access to renewable energy and technology.

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Evaluation results

21 evaluations so far

1. #Design4Climate Social Share: Are you so passionate about this Climate Innovation Story that you would tell all your friends?

I just did! - 85.7%

I prefer to write my responses in the comments section below. - 14.3%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lexie Kings

As noted many of these high polluting countries, China and India, still and will burn coal for the seeming future. Also noted is that the coal they burn is the high polluting coal. Japan and China have both shown interest in the cleaner burning coal produced in the Powder River basin in Wyoming. Wyoming would like to export this coal to Asia but they are blocked by environmental protestors on the west coast. Exporting Powder River coal to Asia would bring high paying union jobs to the Powder River basin as well as to the west coast. It would also cut down on pollution by burning cleaner coal in the countries were air pollution is highest. Even climate scientists have said the world will still continue burning coal for another twenty years. If coal is still going to be burnt than we need to burn the cleanest coal there is. Wall Street 24/7 estimated in the next twenty years wind power will grow 108% and solar power 25%. But it will take twenty years to get those industries built along with the grid to transport the clean renewable energy. What do we do in the meantime? Quit using electricity, but as an essay expert with I'd say, China and India won't do, or burn cleaner coal.

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