Not a lot of people would consider the idea of using cryptocurrency to buy clean energy a possibility. But it’s a model that Lagos-based OneWattSolar (OWS) has used to provide Nigerians with access to electricity for more than two years.
The clean energy company allows its customers to pay for solar energy using blockchain tokens. Users also don’t have to pay for the solar system infrastructure, as it is funded through financial backers.
After installation, OWS uses technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to facilitate services like payments and monitoring.
How does it all work together? TechCabal caught up with the company’s co-founder and COO, Jubril Adeojo, to find out.
An innovative concept with many layers
Like the typical solar company, OneWattSolar (OWS) supplies and distributes panels for private individuals and residential estates in Nigeria. What makes OWS different is the payment system it offers to customers.
When using OWS’s clean energy solution, customers do not have to pay for the configuration of the solar panel system, which is funded by financiers. Instead, they purchase tokens called “green coins” using naira to pay for the electricity supplied. The tokens are built on the blockchain platform, Ethereum.
The solar configuration is also fitted with an internet-enabled router that automatically collects data on energy consumption to ensure that customers pay exactly what they use – charged monthly on a pay-as-you-go basis. Likewise, it will also alert OWS to any potential problems with the systems in real-time.
Using blockchain for its solar solution helps OWS enable transparency between all stakeholders as well as reduce costs between all parties. “With this system, customers are charged for exactly what they use,” said Adeojo.
On a traditional service using fossil fuels, energy usage is nearly ₦70 ($0.20) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in Nigeria. However, the blockchain system costs 50% less ($0.10) compared to diesel, as the expensive maintenance costs of generators are avoided.
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