June 02, 2004

The Distributed Utility Company

HBS Working Knowledge: Social Enterprise: Sun Shines on Business Plan Winner is an interesting interview with the guys from SunEdison.

SunEdison have a ingenious new take on solar power. Based on the premise that the main obstacle to solar power adoption is the up-front cost; they pay for the solar panels and installation, and then sell you the electricity. They're building a network of miniature, environmentally-friendly power stations on roofs across the USA.

They seem to be targetting businesses at the moment, but given there's a ten- to twenty-year contract for the customer to allevitate some of the risks for SunEdison, it isn't very consumer-friendly just yet.

It's a similar idea to one I was mulling over not long after visiting the Centre for Alternative Technology last year. Only I was thinking about incorporating the cost into a "green mortgage" given that it's effectively just a home-improvement. I still think that's got some merit, and I'd be quite interested in getting such a mortgage myself, however I think my social entrepreneurism will have to wait awhile.

Posted by Adrian at June 2, 2004 02:48 PM | TrackBack

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