Renewable energy is all the rage, but while homeowners can install solar panels and more, renters are left behind. Luckily, a Berlin startup is trying to change that.
we do solar Founded in September 2021 by Karolina Attspodina and Qian Qin. They created a solar panel kit that can be attached to balconies and fences. This allows renters to save up to 25% on their utility bills.
The panel comes with mounting straps, microinverters and plugs. Can be attached to balcony railings or privacy screens. Once installed, connected and plugged in, it will immediately start generating energy during the day.
Depending on location and weather, the power generated is equivalent to 2-3 kilowatt-hours. Attspodina said, “One kilowatt-hour is worth his 60 phone calls.” But hardware can also power more intensive items like washing machines and refrigerators.
The panel also has 4G connectivity and you can use the corresponding app to view the energy produced and monitor the amount of CO2 saved.
empowering traditionally marginalized people
Germany is no stranger to renewable energy. Attspodina says he’s found “about 200,000 DIY solutions built locally by people.” Unfortunately, these did not always comply with safety standards. Rental regulations About making structural changes to the exterior facade of a rental property by drilling screws and bolts – and nobody wants trouble during a housing shortage.
However, in last year’s Stuttgart ruling, Environmental Benefits of Solar Panels surpassed landlord’s rightsset the precedent for apartment solar panels.
Of course, this is not the same across Europe. That’s why We Do Solar’s kit comes with weather strips that won’t alter the walls of your apartment. Effectively, this means it can be installed in a huge number of rental properties.
Supporting the transition to carbon neutrality
What interests me most is the market opportunity, not the solar panels themselves. Germany has a unique housing culture. 48.9% of the population lives in rental properties (much lower than Western European standards), 56.1% of Germans live in an apartment.
This means that companies like We Do Solar that can provide equipment that is normally out of reach for these people could be successful. One stumbling block here, however, is cost.
The panel has a retail price of €1299, which is not a small expense for those who are already struggling to pay their utility bills. But he told Attspodina that the German government is pushing for solar power. The allowable wattage for such residential panels has recently increased from 600 watts to 750 watts. A subsidy of up to €400 is possible and the Panel does not charge him VAT.
What’s even more interesting is that the panels can be exchanged for carbon credits.For example, in Germany, people who bought an electric car C02 credits. These can be redeemed for Solar Panel Kits, so you can get them virtually free if you play the card correctly.
The company is also committed to providing services to employee benefits programs. A company can purchase (or hire) panels for their employees and receive their own C02 credits.
We Do Solar created a timely product at the right time. For now, they’re focused on Germany and other European countries, but Atzpodina says the panel could play a role in housing reconstruction in its native Ukraine after the war is over.
But competition is the main risk for young companies that manage to bring their products to market quickly. The panels are manufactured in China, which has a saturated solar market. Competitors could flood Europe, especially as governments cling to the benefits of energy efficiency, residential solar and carbon credit schemes. However, this is good for the environment as it lowers the price overall.
However, the future of this technology is bright. If We Do Solar can develop a suite of products that work in a wider range of buildings, it can put renewable energy into the hands of millions of people who are often ignored. It’s a noble dream, and one that I think we can all participate in.