Financing is the biggest obstacle for renewables in developing countries — how can this be overcome, while also ensuring the highest security for investors? And how can flows of money be managed securely and transparently in Zimbabwe, a crisis-stricken country without its own currency?
Thuringian company maxx-solar & energie has a ready solution: the maxx Blockchain Hub. An initial reference project at the Karanda Mission Hospital was implemented within the framework of the RES Programme of the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) - the German Energy Agency. The hospital was a good choice for showing off the innovative solution in terms of both requirements and visibility. The public electricity grid was too unreliable for the sensitive medical sector and supplementary diesel generators had failed to bring sustainable improvements. Secured energy supply Thanks to money and in-kind donations and – to a smaller extent – investments, solid financial foundations were established enabling maxx-solar, together with local partner Sunergy, to install a 14 kilowatt peak solar plant along with a battery system. This secure electricity supply improved the hospital’s ability to provide treatment for its patients: there are no longer any power cuts, a matter of life and death particularly during operations. At the same time around EUR 2,500 is saved each year, because solar power is cheaper for the hospital than mains power and diesel. It is still not free, but the amount that the hospital pays for the solar power it obtains flows into maintenance of the installation and into a fund for follow-up projects.
Secured financial transactions All yield data from the system and all financial transactions are stored via an automatic process on a blockchain and made accessible for all participants. This protocol is stored on numerous computers rather than on a central server and is thus almost impossible to manipulate. Everyone has the same access rights. The risk for investors and donors is therefore also limited, because they can see at any time where their money is going and how much electricity the installation they helped to finance is currently producing.
Michael Kober, German Energy Agency: “The maxx Blockchain Hub represents a revolution for crowdfunding concepts and offers huge potential for the photovoltaics market, including beyond the national borders of Zimbabwe.”
Thuringia-based maxx-solar & energie GmbH & Co. KG offers its customers full service in the area of photovoltaics, including planning, installation and maintenance of PV systems, as well as consulting, financing and wholesale. maxx-energy pty ltd. was established in 2012. Together with DGS Thüringen, they established the currently largest solar school in Africa. The main sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town were followed by further academies in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho from 2015, and from 2019 in Angola and Mozambique. This sustainable approach in Africa is also attracting interest outside the solar industry.