With Conuco Solar, we plan to build and operate a solar farm aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and the national energy deficit of the Dominican Republic. Many people don’t have the space at their home or place of business to have their own solar panels installed. Our service will ensure that anyone can still have access to clean, renewable energy by essentially renting space at our solar farm, rather than having to set up their panels at home or their place of business where space may be limited. Our service is also a cost-effective alternative to the traditional and expensive electricity generated on the island and creates even more increased saving as using solar installations generates a credit on the electrical bill of our clients. Users pay a simple monthly fee for the maintenance of their panels and the rental of the land. The strategic location of our farm will help to reduce energy loses on the national grid, improving the electric service around the island.
The impact on the environment is clear, as the introduction of more ways to access renewable energy source will help reduce the country’s CO2 emissions, which is among the highest in the world. To put it into perspective, each Mega Watt of solar panels installed equals the benefit of planting almost 20,000 trees. Our clients, primarily small businesses, will be able to benefit through the tax credits offered by a government scheme that incentivizes investment in renewable energy and they stand to save over 70% on the cost of electricity. This will reduce their operational costs and ultimately give small businesses a better chance to survive, thrive and protect the jobs they’ve created in the local community. By reducing the energy losses of the Dominican Republic’s national grid, we will help produce an upgraded, continuous electrical service as well. This will reduce the subsidy the government has to pay for electricity, so they can use these funds for health, education and other areas that have historically received lower financing than electricity.
OUR VENTURE EXPERIENCE
We created the business model for Conuco Solar as part of our MBA programme, and the teacher encouraged us to participate in The Venture, so we did and surprisingly won! It made us go from an academic project to a real business. Without The Venture we would not really exist! Talking to the other participants and learning from their experiences and motivation was one of the best things about the competition. Some of the visits and talks during the Accelerator Week were also incredible.
The exposure we got from The Venture has changed our way of thinking and our way of seeing things, even our business model’s intention. I would even say we have perfected our model since. We are now looking to create a better financial model that can help us achieve our goal of providing better access to solar installations. Our dream is to one day be able to apply our model on a global scale.