How did we make it here today? The ecoligo storyline unraveled.
You cannot build the future without rewinding into the past as a reminder of what brought you here. Like every startup, we faced our share of challenges at the beginning of our journey, but now we are thankful to be able to introduce you to our new brand identity which we launched this week. As we reintroduce ourselves, let’s look back at our journey with you.
Bringing ecoligo to life
After years of working on solar projects in Africa, it’s no surprise that ecoligo founders Martin Baart (CEO) and Markus Schwaninger (CFO) came together. Driven by the same desire to save the planet and pioneer the global energy transition in emerging markets, they saw three key problems:
- Businesses in emerging markets needed solar energy to reduce costs and grow sustainably.
- A finance gap was stopping solar projects from being realized.
- There was a lack of sustainable, transparent investment opportunities.
Martin and Markus saw a clear opportunity to use a solar-as-a-solution service to solve these problems and get solar projects built quickly. They had the ambitious goal to use crowdinvesting to channel capital to the projects that needed it and manage the development, implementation, and maintenance of solar projects. By doing so, they could break out of the deadlock the finance gap caused and get businesses the energy savings they needed.
To secure this project capital they wanted to develop a truly transparent and beneficial solution for investors out there. A solution that creates tangible impact while providing attractive returns for private investors. By democratizing investing and bringing together thousands of individual investors, ecoligo could take on the climate crisis – and win.
Martin and Markus were aware of all the challenges that lay ahead and were ready to take all necessary actions to surpass them. It wasn’t long until the very first ecoligo project came to life.
Turning a vision into reality
We will always have a special relationship with Ghana, as the first country where we got to realize our vision. We were thrilled to see ecoligo’s first crowdinvestors fund the 8.8 kWp solar system for Impact Hub Accra in just 11 hours!
This confirmed our belief that private investors are eager to invest in sustainable solutions. We then knew that we weren’t alone in this mission. With the installation of this very first system, we created both the immediate and long-term positive impact that the company was founded to create.
For Impact Hub Accra, using clean energy was about more than just cost savings, since sustainability is at the core of their ethos. By powering their own operations with solar, the Impact Hub could also demonstrate the feasibility of renewable energy technologies to its entrepreneurs. With Ghana in our portfolio and a growing need for additional sustainable solutions, we expanded further in this region, and our journey took us to Kenya next.
Solar as a service expanding in Africa
With Martin and Markus already familiar with the energy market and its needs in Kenya, and the fact that Markus lived in Kenya in 2010 and 2011, our expansion into Kenya was only natural. There is continuous growth and fruitful ground for sustainable projects in the African region, with Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP), projected to grow by 4.5% in 2021.
We entered this new market with our 75-kWp project for the Kenyan flower farm Rift Valley Roses. Solar energy offered great potential for local businesses in Kenya like Rift Valley Roses. The installation enabled the flower farm to meet more than 50% of its electricity needs while saving an average of 68.18 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
With every new project launched we saw our crowd grow as people learned about us and our mission. After Kenya, we knew we had to bring more projects online, creating more opportunities for investors to support the energy transition in emerging economies.
Latin America goes solar
By 2019, our solar-as-a-service solution was already up and running in Ghana and Kenya with 1.7 MWp of photovoltaic systems installed and a total funding volume of more than 1.7 million EUR. But that was just the beginning.
The 54 kWp project for Swiss Travel Guanacaste paved the way for our expansion to Latin America. Costa Rica, as well as many other Latin American countries, holds great potential for the commercial and industrial (C&I) use of solar power, with high rates of solar irradiation and growing economic activity.
Nevertheless, suitable finance for such solar projects was difficult to access, a problem which we solved by our fully financed solar-as-a-service solution.
As we expanded into Costa Rica, we expanded the ecoligo team to meet the demands of our growing project portfolio and business operations, adding 11 full-time staff roles.
We were growing both as a company as well as by bringing our solar-as-a-service solution to more countries across the globe. But this is when we had to pause for a moment, as the world as we knew it changed drastically.
Growing through uncertain times
Many would have expected that when the Covid-19 global pandemic hit, we would have taken a step back and paused our operations, but through careful management with our partners and clients we not only pressed forward but grew our business faster than ever, expanding into Vietnam with our biggest projects to date.
With a project split into two phases (994 kWp and 986 kWp) Dong Nam Viet Packaging brought us to Vietnam, where high energy costs and a fossil fuel heavy energy grid made our solar-as-a-service solution a perfect fit for businesses.
Vietnam was and is still striving to grow the share of renewable energy in its energy mix, with measures – like the recently announced feed-in tariff for solar projects – set to encourage new project implementation. Energy demand in the Southeast Asian country climbs by 10% yearly, making Vietnam a highly active market for renewable energy investments.
Another Southeast Asian country follows the same pattern, and this is exactly where we made our further expansion.
ecoligo’s solar-as-a-service solution in Thailand
When acquiring our very first solar system in Thailand (Thai retail rooftop business of RWE) we knew that the country was characterized by economic growth associated with an increasing demand for electricity. As ecoligo CEO Martin Baart said at that time:
“The entry into another Southeast Asian market this year is a huge milestone for ecoligo, and we look forward to becoming an integral player in Thailand’s transition to a more sustainable economy. By purchasing an existing system, we can offer crowdinvestors the opportunity to invest in a new market with the security of a project that is already installed and producing energy.”
Our goal was to provide local businesses with an alternative and more sustainable way to generate and consume energy. With Thailand becoming the second country in Southeast Asia where we are active, we had the unique opportunity to secure the saving of 591 tons of CO2 emissions per year on our first system.
The client of this first Thailand project, Xcellent, made great strides towards sustainability, significantly reducing its electricity costs and making its production processes more climate-friendly.
The future shines brighter than the sun
Our projects in all these regions confirmed our belief when ecoligo was founded, that the global community is ready and willing to fight the climate crisis through innovative solutions to build affordable renewable energy. Making a rapid transition to clean power is not only essential for our planet but a vital tool in overcoming global economic challenges.
To meet our still growing needs, we expanded the ecoligo team further reaching a total of 29 team members hailing from around the globe each of whom brings a unique perspective to our company. From two people coming together under the same vision to a group of like-minded professionals determined to save the planet and lead the energy transition, there’s no challenge our team can’t take on.
With a track record of proven success, we’re ready to take our business to the next level and plan to introduce larger projects, enter new markets and create more opportunities to create impact. To mark this next phase of our journey we’ve introduced a new brand and visual identity to better communicate who we are as well as our commitment to our mission and our community.
We’re thrilled to share that with you here – as we continue to grow and generate a positive impact in the world together with you!
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