SOLshare: Revolutionary Peer-to-Peer Solar Energy Trading in a Developing Market

Abstract

This case relates the story of ME SOLshare Ltd. (SOLshare), a peer-to-peer (P2P) solar energy trading social enterprise in Bangladesh, founded by Sebastian Groh in 2014. The company created a revolutionary trading approach that made solar energy-based electricity affordable to people living in remote or poverty-stricken areas of Bangladesh where no electricity was otherwise available. Through P2P solar energy trading, prosumers (i.e. those who are consumers as well as producers) could sell unused electricity, generated through installed solar home systems, to customers in the neighborhood in return for credit in their mobile wallet that they could use to purchase groceries. By 2019, Bangladesh had five million homes installed with solar home systems. SOLshare aimed at expanding its presence in India and to the rest of Asia, where it was estimated that over 700 million people did not have access to electricity. By early 2019, developed countries such as the United Kingdom were also conducting tests of P2P solar energy trading technology. Given the P2P solar trading technology that Groh could access, should he focus more on developed markets or developing markets, such as India? What advantages does SOLshare provide to entrepreneurs and consumers? As SOLshare expands, what legal, technological, and organizational challenges might it face?

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