A new solar energy distribution + installation startup by the name of “Bright” has managed to pull in roughly $4 million in seed money to fund its new solar financing plans for the “developing world,” according to recent reports.
The company is apparently aiming to capitalize on a potentially underserved market in many “developing” regions — those that can’t afford solar energy systems outright but that can afford relatively low “subscription” costs (lower than conventional means of getting electricity in many cases). The plan being to provide electricity from the solar panels via a subscription service similar to cable television in the US.
“The goal is for any installer in any country to offer a high quality rooftop solar installation at no upfront cost, and do so over and over, millions and eventually billions of times,” stated Jonah Greenberger, the startup’s 28-year-old founder, and former executive with Chevron.
The company actually began working in Mexico last year — eyeing the market owing to the relatively high cost of electricity during the hot summer months in many places, and also to the relatively complicated process of getting electricity in general in some places. Electricity costs can run as high as ~$250 a month during the summer for some, according to figures from the Mexican Federal Electric Commission.
While the government in Mexico does have some policies in place to to subsidize electricity for those that are particularly poor, not everyone is covered. Those not covered are the intended target market.
“Solar is the path forward. Specifically, it’s a solution that doesn’t need to be centrally controlled and distributed (ie it can sit on roofs instead of in one large location in a desert), which means we can be independent from a totally government controlled solution,” Greenberger continued.
Bright has some competition, though, as the company Evolta is currently pursuing the Mexican market with a similar strategy. While Bright is currently focused entirely on the Mexican market, the company will reportedly spread out to other developing countries when opportunity permits.
We can’t help but say, though, this sounds very similar to the $0-down solar leasing push that has dominated the US solar market in the past few years. And despite its success, many have been critical of the higher lifetime cost that solar leasing brings to the customer. Is this not yet another case of the rich making money off of the poor through some money shuffling? Or is it simply a creative way to improve the lives of the majority? Let the arguments begin.
Image Credit: Bright
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Our Latest EVObsession Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.