Solar AI wants to make solar power more accessible in Southeast Asia

Solar AI wants to make solar power more accessible in Southeast Asia

Solar energy is gaining momentum globally as rising energy costs drive the demand. However, in Singapore, homeowners remain hesitant due to the high upfront investment. At Solar AI Technologies, founder Bolong Chew is revolutionizing the solar industry in Southeast Asia by introducing a unique rent-to-own model. This approach enables customers to save on their energy bills right from the beginning. Recently, the startup secured $1.5 million in seed funding from Earth Venture Capital, Undivided Ventures, Investible, and climate-tech angel investor David Pardo. Join the solar boom and start benefiting from affordable and sustainable energy solutions today.

Solar AI

Solar AI, a company founded by Chew, GĂ©rald Chablowski, and Luke Ong, was launched three years ago. It was incubated through Engie Factory, the venture arm of French utility company Engie Group. The team identified the lack of trust and awareness as one of the obstacles hindering the adoption of rooftop solar in Southeast Asia. Due to the high upfront costs, the adoption rate remains low, despite the increasing electricity prices. Consequently, the majority of individuals are unaware of anyone who has installed a solar system, resulting in a solar system penetration rate of less than 1%.

As explained by Chew, the conventional approach to a rooftop solar system involves an upfront investment of $15,000 to $20,000. It typically takes around seven to eight years to break even and enjoy free electricity for the next two decades. However, for many potential customers unfamiliar with those who have already adopted solar systems, taking that leap of faith can be challenging. Hence, the rental model serves as a means to mitigate the risks associated with solar ownership for these customers. Discover a reliable and hassle-free way to embrace solar energy!

Solar AI offers three plans:

A five-year plan with a 50% down payment, a ten-year plan with no upfront costs, and a traditional upfront purchase option. Monthly fees for the rent-to-own plans are approximately $200, whereas the average electricity bills amount to $250 per month. By installing a solar system, customers can start saving $50 on their energy costs each month. Any excess solar energy generated is exported to the grid, and the grid operator, SP Group in Singapore, compensates customers directly for the surplus energy. Solar AI also covers maintenance and warranty expenses throughout the contract period, ensuring a hassle-free experience for customers.

Solar AI has an impressive track record, serving over 100 satisfied customers and achieving more than $3 million SGD on signed rooftop solar contracts. Join us as we pave the way towards a sustainable future with our cutting-edge solar solutions.

The rent-to-own model:

Is already widely adopted in the United States and Europe, and Solar AI is proud to bring it to Singapore. When we first introduced this innovative approach, we couldn’t help but question if we were ahead of our time or just crazy! We sought advice from experts in the industry who expressed concerns about the unit economics of rent-to-own. While large-scale rooftop systems benefit from property agreements, the costs for smaller projects are higher due to customer acquisition expenses. However, one advantage of Solar AI is that we conduct a significant portion of our sales through digital channels, helping to lower unit costs. Discover the benefits of our pioneering rent-to-own model in Singapore today!

Solar AI, before launching its rent-to-own business, took strategic steps by developing educational content on its website. As a result, it now dominates the top rankings for solar search keywords in Southeast Asia. In Singapore, the web traffic to Solar AI’s website surpasses that of the two other leading solar companies combined, while in the Philippines, where Solar AI plans to expand in the next 12 months, its web traffic exceeds that of the largest solar company by fivefold. This successful approach contributes to the company’s low customer acquisition costs. Discover Solar AI’s expertise and join our growing community today!

Chew explains that Solar AI has primarily relied on organic search to attract customers, with approximately 80% of customer segments originating from written content on Solar AI’s website and online tools such as the instant solar assessment. Once potential customers enter Solar AI’s sales pipeline, they receive a comprehensive digital overview of the process and a proposal from the sales team. Subsequently, the physical installation of a solar system ensues when customers decide to proceed with either a five-year or ten-year plan. At this stage, Solar AI conducts a site survey on the customer’s property. Referrals account for the remaining 20% of customer segments. By utilizing this approach, Solar AI has minimized its investment in paid marketing while maintaining consistent speed and performance over time.

Solar AI has plans to expand to other markets, including Malaysia and the Philippines. They have already started working with local partners in these regions. The primary goal of the company is to scale rooftop solar and contribute to decarbonizing our environment. According to Investible investment manager Ben Lindsay, there is immense untapped potential for residential and commercial solar-as-a-service in Southeast Asia. The strong traction and robust pipeline of Solar AI position them as a leader in the region’s accelerating development. Join us in our mission to promote sustainable energy solutions throughout Southeast Asia.