Q&A: Power Clouds CEO makes Solar the Future of Responsible Energy Production

- Leadership - Nov 16, 2014

Power Clouds is a project determined to change the course of renewable energy production.

Only the most determined climate change sceptics will deny the need to look beyond finite resources for out planet’s energy needs, and harnessing the power generated by the Sun is already among the most widely used alternative methods.

Power Clouds is a communal solar power initiative whereby the business constructs photovoltaic plants using solar panels leased to them by participants, who receive a monthly fee for 20 years. So far the Power Clouds network comprises 15 plants with contributions from more than 53,000 people in 112 countries.

READ MORE: Power Clouds Solar Project Reveals $60 Million First Year Success

Business Review Europe spoke to Power Clouds CEO Roberto Forlani to find out more about the project.

BRE: Describe the success of PowerClouds in Europe to this date.

RF: I have always believed in innovation and excellence when creating a business. These core values made Power Clouds the unanimously acknowledged leader in solar energy within Europe and to back up my proud statement I can offer facts and figures that no other business has produced in such a short period of time.

As of today, Power Clouds can boost more than 53,000 participants in more than 112 countries and 15 shared solar power plants for a total value of $60 million.

This represents a unique participatory system of renewable energy production from citizens around the world. Power Clouds allows anyone who owns a solar panel anywhere in the world to lease the panel to the business, which then pays the solar panel owner a monthly fee for 20 years. The hope is that from these participatory solar farms, the global grid will be fed with clean energy and create the first worldwide network of photovoltaic systems – ideally the planet’s largest energy source.

The output from the 15 shared solar power plants is estimated around 555 million KWh (for an average of 30 years). Such production will determine a reduction of Co2 emissions of over 270,000 tons, which is the equivalent of planting seven million new trees.

We are recently back from Romania, where over $20 million have been invested in less than a year in order to create a network of five large solar plants located between Scornicesti and Nucet.

The business is not only keen on clean energy production and profit but also on the creation of societal good.  Such goals have been appreciated by authoritative voices in the media world like Forbes, which has given us great attention over the last months often defining Power Clouds as social innovator in the field of renewable energy.

What has been your headline achievement over the past year?

Power Clouds can boost many achievement with regards to business expansion yet I strongly believe that the headline achievement is the prestigious Business Project Development prize we have been awarded by Solar International Award. We collected the prize on the 23rd of September  in Amsterdam, capital of one of the most progressive countries in the field of renewable energy.

This all could not be possible without restless work and a team of dedicated professionals thus I can safely say that this is the most genuine achievement of all.

Why is this such an important project?

The innovative approach brought about by Power Clouds in the arena is the production of green energy which has been made possible by empowering local populations in managing solar plants. The importance of Power Clouds is thus not merely connected to doing business alone but most importantly to the first interconnected project of energy production.

No other business envisioned a structure which benefits suppliers and consumers at global scale and I believe this is a very crucial first step towards sustainability on both economic and environmental level.

To what extent are you involved in the UN Climate Change campaign?

Innovation is our core value and for us it is crucial to participate and speak up on climate change and greenhouse effect. For this reason, we strongly share the views of world leaders like President Obama and UN Director General Ban Ki Moon who are some of the most authoritative voices within the debate.

Our collective efforts at Power Clouds not only produce outstanding results on a large scale but they also generate awareness within young people about these crucial challenges. We are acting as business players but also as social innovators and educators within society.

What are your ambitions for the next year or so? Are you looking to expand into other territories?

We envision very ambitious plans for our business and we are currently engaged in different business expansion activities. We have several areas pinned on our map but Japan is most likely to be our next target country, where we are installing new solar panels in different parts of the nation.

Seeing the huge enthusiastic support shown by Romanian local authorities, we are confident in a cooperation outside Europe with other governments and institutions.

How did you become involved in Power Clouds?

I conceived Power Clouds long before it was an actual business reality. Throughout my academic studies in Electronics engineering and my interest towards ecology I became passionate about entrepreneurship too.

I then took over a leadership role within one of the most important photovoltaic suppliers in Europe and since then I started thinking about a revolutionary way to operate in business.

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