We, as a society, live with the haunting awareness of our climate crisis every day. When the world leaders commit to a ‘net-zero by 2050’, it evidently translates for industries to start taking steps in the right direction to achieve that goal.
The only possible way to attain the net-zero by 2050 objective is to switch to clean energy options almost immediately for completely curbing harmful industrial carbon emissions. Although companies are willing to make this energy switch, the high cost of installing clean energy systems makes companies hesitant in doing so.
To empower organizations for doing the right thing in an attempt to save the planet, ecoligo came into existence. Co-founded in the year 2016 by Martin Baart, the CEO of ecoligo, the company is leading the clean energy revolution by providing cost-efficient solar energy solutions to its clients.
In the following interview, Martin elaborates on the vision, mission, and values of the company that make it a prominent name in the arena.
Please brief our audience about ecoligo, its values, and how it is positioned as a leading player in the green tech sector.
ecoligo is here to save the planet by leading the clean energy revolution in emerging markets with solar energy solutions for Commercial & Industrial (C&I) businesses. Our fully financed solar-as-a-service solutions do not only allow our clients to profit from significant cost savings but enable them to grow sustainably.
By providing these businesses in the world’s fastest-growing economies with solar energy, ecoligo stops harmful CO2 emissions from ever being released in nations that will be decisive in efforts to save the planet as we know it. All this is made possible by German crowdinvestors financing the clean energy solutions and participating in the fight against climate change while profiting from financial returns.
With this innovative business model that connects businesses in emerging markets in need of affordable energy with impact-driven crowdinvestors, we take global climate action that spans across the planet and tackles the climate crisis at its source: energy generation.
By now, we have signed contracts for 123 projects with 97 clients in nine countries, for which we will install or already have installed solar systems with a capacity of more than 53 MW. Thanks to these systems, our clients will be able to save more than 209 million € in electricity costs and 860,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of these systems.
What range of services does your company offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry while maintaining sustainability?
Emerging markets and their economies are growing rapidly. This growth means that businesses in these markets have increased energy demands that have historically been met by the burning of fossil fuels. Their electricity costs are also skyrocketing. While many companies acknowledge the benefits solar energy would provide for them, they often struggle to switch to this more affordable and much more sustainable energy source. This is where ecoligo comes in.
We provide these businesses with solar-as-a-service solutions that are fully financed by crowdinvestors and thus do not incur any upfront costs. In collaboration with qualified local partners, we take care of everything from start to finish, from the design of the solar system to its installation and maintenance.
The businesses only pay for the electricity generated by the solar systems and can immediately start to benefit from the systems as soon as they go live. As does the planet, thanks to immediate CO2 savings and thus less greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
What measures do you employ to ensure positive environmental impact?
Every action we take and every contract we sign only has one goal: To save the planet by leading the clean energy transition in emerging markets and by thus significantly reducing the environmental impact of these soaring economies. We calculate and track the CO2 savings generated by our solar projects over their lifetime and are very proud of the fact that, as of now, all our signed solar projects will jointly save more than 600,000 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime.
In order to not only have a positive environmental impact on the planet by what we do but also how we do it, we have only recently offset our company’s carbon footprint.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on how the adaptation of modern technologies has transformed businesses and what more could be expected in the near future for the green tech space?
When talking about the green tech space, modern technologies are usually associated with the actual technology: more efficient solar panels, a lower cost inverter, a cloud-based monitoring system. However, modern technologies have the power to change entire companies and their way of doing business. Technology often becomes the core of the company and allows for the adoption of new business models that previously would have been unimaginable.
For ecoligo, this digital advancement enables us to use and channel the (financial) power of thousands of investors into hundreds of projects and back – all fully automated and digitalised. I believe that many more companies will be able to unlock unforeseen business models that will change the world thanks to modern technologies.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your company to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your employees at the same time?
In contrast to many other businesses, the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on ecoligo has been relatively light. With offices and employees all over the world, we had already been quite experienced with working remotely when the pandemic hit.
As a digitally driven business, we had been able to continue with almost all our operations as usual. At the same time, working with our qualified local EPC partners that oversee installing and maintaining our solar system, we have always made sure to adhere to local regulations and pause the construction of solar systems if necessary.
We are carefully monitoring the safety measures at a place on the construction sites of our solar systems and are in constant contact with our partners in order to react to any new safety measures.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the green tech space?
Do it now! There has never been a better time to join the industry. Climate change is real and can no longer be denied. Because of the topic being more urgent than ever before, funding from investors is channelled massively into the industry, ensuring easier access to funding than ever before.
So, in addition to knowing that with a venture in the green tech space, you are working towards a better future for all of us, the chances of being successful are quite high, too.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021 and further?
Going into 2022, we are aiming at growing our business even faster than ever before. We are constantly scanning new markets for business opportunities and are already in first contact with clients in Rwanda, South Africa, and Guatemala to join our portfolio of C&I clients.
As of today, our project pipeline includes 1,191 projects with a capacity of 650 MW. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. According to the international energy agency (IEA), the energy market for C&I in emerging markets is valued at 2.5 trillion € annually, with a forecasted tripling of this valuation until 2030. This is an enormous untapped potential that we are eager to explore.
There can never be enough solar systems, never enough clean energy solutions that encourage sustainable growth in emerging markets. While growing our project portfolio, we also aim at growing our staff significantly in the upcoming year(s).
We do not only wish to grow the team in our headquarter in Berlin, but we want to grow our regional offices in Costa Rica, Ghana, Kenya, Chile, and Vietnam and open additional offices in new potential markets. Since we are fully digital in our workflow, we can execute this scaling by staying lean and efficient.
About the Leader
Martin Baart has over 17 years of experience in the renewable energy space, including more than 13 years in emerging countries. He began his career working on grid integration of grid-scale solar PV plants for a German regional municipality.
During his master’s degree, he lived and worked in Australia for Powercorp, the world leader in microgrids, on the technical integration of solar and wind solutions into microgrids.
He moved into business development and founded the company’s European branch. Following his successful entry into the market, he assisted the management team in selling the company to ABB.
For ABB, he built up the Microgrid business unit in Madrid, after which he left to join Berlin-based start-up OneShore Energy as CTO and first employee. He created East African markets and technology for risk mitigation in Off-Grid Solar PPAs with them.
He left the company in 2015 to prepare for the launch of ecoligo, which addresses the primary obstacle to solar projects in emerging markets: a completely serviced and financed solution that relieves clients of all concerns.
Since then, he has expanded the company into regional centres in Central America, West Africa, East Africa, and Southeast Asia, as well as introduced the solution to markets for energy efficiency initiatives.
- “ecoligo’s transformative approach shows us how investing in renewables can generate a return while contributing to the non-negotiable fight against climate change.” – Elena Bou, Innovation Director EIT InnoEnergy
- “I wanted to get solar energy, but the investment was too high, and I didn’t know if there was enough sunlight. ecoligo helped me to get informed and covered the investment.” – Thuyen Bui Duc, Nam Dinh Forest (Client)
- “ecoligo made it so easy! They really take care of everything, and I was using solar energy even faster than I expected. By managing everything, they take away the risk and give you peace of mind.” – Anthony Botchway, Bomarts Farms (Client)