Throughout human history, the only constant thing is the change it has been undergoing. Changes, that were once known to be the need of the hour and without which the world would have probably been in a different shape.
But are these changes random?
The ideation behind every change plays a vital role in the development that it brings to society. Without these perfect ideations, the socio-economic status of the homo sapiens might have had a different face!
“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.”
Standing true to the quote opined by Tom Freston and exemplifying innovative leadership is SunRoof—a company that has made innovation its never-ending goal. It believes in creating aesthetic sunroofs and proves that modern architecture can be smart, beautiful, economical, and friendly to the people and the environment simultaneously.
Under the leading guidance of Lech Kaniuk, CEO & Co-founder of SunRoof, the company has undergone changes that have established the norms for a successful future.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as one of the most sustainable renewable energy companies in today’s world.
SunRoof—a Swedish solar energy startup, delivers the most powerful building-integrated solar roofs on the market today. The company offers 2-in-1 solar roofs and innovative façades that optimize the decentralized electricity generation of a building. These solar roofs are not only neat-looking and more productive per surface area of a roof, but also leave a lower CO2 footprint and use fewer resources and materials, compared to traditional roof and PV installations.
SunRoof offers homeowners a complete energy management system including storage and a digital platform, to track the progress of manufacturing and construction of their solar roof but also monitor and manage their energy production and consumption via SunRoof’s energy app, ultimately optimizing the economic return of their SunRoof installation.
Over the last two years, SunRoof has established and expanded operations in Sweden, Germany, and Poland, being the fastest growing company in the BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics) industry.
Kindly enlighten us about the vision and mission of your company.
Our mission is to speed up the global transition to renewables by developing elegant roofs by generating electricity, will cover the energy demand of the entire building. Sunroof’s ambition is to provide solar roofs with the lowest carbon footprint on the market.
SunRoof’s vision is to empower decarbonization processes and the development of digital and decentralized energy generation and use systems that open up new avenues to a sustainable and productive lifestyle.
Tell us more about the product/solutions offerings and capabilities that make your company stand out from the competition.
Integrated photovoltaic solutions are the future of green construction and are far superior to traditional roof-mounted panels. Their production has a smaller CO2 footprint as it uses fewer resources and materials.
By combining traditional materials with state-of-the-art energy-capturing technology, we make the most powerful solar roofs per square meter anywhere in the world. SunRoof can produce up to 200 watts per square meter [W/sq m], while other building integrated solutions reach around 160W/sq m. The cutting-edge SunRoof technology uses the whole roof surface to produce electricity which maximizes benefits from the investment.
The aesthetics are certainly the distinguishing feature of the company’s solutions. SunRoof complements the architecture of the house and provides a modern, beautiful design. This is proof that modern architecture can be smart, beautiful, economical, as well as friendly to the people and the environment at the same time.
Please brief us about your journey in the industry and how you have made the company excel in its competitive market.
The company was founded by Karol Kaniuk, who has been developing the technology in Sweden. Before Karol Kaniuk started selling solar roofs, he installed a photovoltaic system in his home to gain hands-on experience. The first solar roof attracted the attention of neighbors and convinced them to expand this solar innovation.
While the first years of the startup were spent mostly on building and testing its proprietary technology, SunRoof gained momentum in late 2018 after my joining in the company. I had experience in building the success of brands such as Delivery Hero, PizzaPortal, and iTaxi.
Then I brought on board Marek Zmyslowski (co-founder of Jumia Travel and HotelOnline.co) and Rafal Plutecki (former Google executive) in 2019 experienced in global, rapid expansion to accelerate its mission of transitioning the world into sustainable energy.
Thanks to the team enforcements, SunRoof recorded a 500% YoY growth. In 12 months the company expanded from Sweden to Poland and Germany and keeps setting new trends for smart roof solutions.
SunRoof grew from 10 people in January 2020 to over 130 employees beginning of 2022. The company will continue to grow and consolidate its leading position in existing markets.
Please elaborate on the core strengths of your company.
Innovative Solar Roof Technology
SunRoof revolutionizes housing electrification and decentralized renewable energy generation with the most powerful and resource-efficient building-integrated solar roofs on the market today. The company provides a complete ecosystem of solutions, including solar roofs, facades and carports, and innovative energy management technology.
The vast global tech and business experience of SunRoof’s team
Behind SunRoof is a team of accomplished Global Tech Entrepreneurs. I envision that, with my leadership, just like Delivery Hero, PizzaPortal, and iTaxi, SunRoof will continue to grow and consolidate its leading position in existing markets.
Expand on how your company’s energy solutions are enabling businesses to further their sustainability efforts.
As part of the EU’s new solar strategy, announced in May with the REPowerEU package, the Commission proposes a more ambitious target of installing new solar panels by 2025 with a capacity of over 320GW, more than double the current and by 2030 – with a capacity of almost 600 GW.
SunRoof is the best answer to these challenges. The company facilitates building beautiful, intelligent, self-sufficient houses that will generate electricity from the sun, replacing the need to install PV panels on a classic roof. A significant part of residential and commercial customers will look for solutions that do not compromise both in terms of the aesthetics of the structure as well as its efficiency and durability.
Please share your opinion on how the adoption of technology has benefited your industry and how your company is adapting to the change.
We are leading the change. We have finally reached a point where building integrated PV is no more just a super premium product with low efficiency and high price. Today, you pay a very small premium to get the design and lower CO2 footprint and reach the same or even higher power output from your roof than you would get with traditional top-mounted PV.
In your view, what are the existing challenges in the renewable energy generation space? And how are you strategizing your company’s operations to tackle them?
The big challenges today are the fast-moving space with rapid changes in regulations and the environment. On top of this, everyone is still suffering from supply chain issues and fast-changing prices for components and services. We believe that the only way for us to deliver with high quality, good processes, and short waiting times will be the digitalization of our processes and tools to reach operational excellence.
What would your advice be to budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the renewable energy solutions space?
Don’t wait! In the end, we all are participating in a much bigger mission – to make a positive impact on the environment fast enough. I mean, all businesses are difficult and have challenges, but when you start small and local – you’ll figure things out on a smaller scale with lower risk. Then, when you figure out the basics, you should push all you can to grow. When considering doing an impact company – waiting is good for no one.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and outreach in 2022 and beyond?
We are currently focused on digitalizing processes and tools, automation, and standardization. All of this will be super important when we enter into our hyper-growth phase in 2023. These things will be important so that our geographical expansion won’t mean local teams have to invent the wheel over and over again. We have sufficient learning to prepare and embark on a truly aggressive expansion coming years.
Please give us a few testimonials from your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.
- Huawei Startup Challenge II, a special award from the National Chamber of Energy and RES Clusters (2022)
- SunRoof won the Economic Award of the President of the Republic of Poland in the STARTUP_PL category (2021)
- Start-up Challenge 2021: SunRoof won the prestigious competition held during the European Economic Congress and the European Tech and Start-up Days, in the “ENVIRONMENT” category (2021)
- Laureate of the ranking: Startups of Positive Impact 2021, organized by Kozminski Business Hub, category “Positive technologies” (2021)
- 100 best CEOs disrupting tech! – awards for Lech Kaniuk, CEO & Co-Founder of SunRoof
- One of 50 startups awarded in the Vestbee 2Q 2021 ranking
- The award for the 2-in-1 solar roof during the ENEX 2021 fair (Poland)
- One of the 100 best startups in the Energy Transition 2021 ranking under the patronage of the German Ministry of Economy and Energy, where it competed with a group of nearly 550 start-ups from 89 countries in the energy industry
- Laureate of the 100 most promising entities according to the Emerge International Tech Conference, where over 700 entities in the field of high technologies applied