Walter Marin, Founder & CEO of Plug The Sun, is a successful versatile leader with extensive global experiences across domains and solar management. He is spearheading the company’s rapid growth with his vision to create a transformation in the world of the emerging solar home system and micro/minigrid, making a difference in the lives of people globally. Besides a vast experience of about almost four decades , Walter is passionate about the culture and the knowledge to share for the best of the humanity.
A Pioneering Brand in Solar Arena
Plug the Sun design, develop, and manufacture the most innovative solar off-grid solutions. It is the next generation producer of Solar Home Systems, Hybrid and Mini-Grids solutions suitable for houses, businesses, and communities. The company was founded in 2016 and within 4 years, its footprint has reached South-East Asia, South America and Africa. Since its inception Plug The Sun’s mission has been to provide electricity for everyone on three axes:
- To boost economic growth.
- To reduce the carbon footprint by using solar energy.
- To increase the energy capacity ensuring that digitalization and technological improvement can take place.
Until now, the off-grid industry was mainly focused on generating enough electricity to power a few basic appliances such as light bulbs, fans, and television sets. These first steps are a significant improvement, but their vision for energy access is significantly more comprehensive and robust. They believe that electrification efforts that focus only on basic solutions will not deliver transformative growth so they designed a series of off-grid solutions that go from 150 Wh to 20000 Wh and more.
Mushrooming as a Differentiator
The energy revolution is dominated by renewable, built based on areas, and rely on a model where producers and consumers are the same entity. Through distributed networks of electricity, each area will have its own energy supply system sized to their needs. By making customers self-sufficient and interconnected, it’s easier to create a system that provides constant, clean, reliable energy.
“We can all be Green Energy Producers. When a building, a shop, or a neighbour, produce and store the energy they need, the power supply system will be changed. They will all become micro, clean energy power stations. Our main priority is to deliver electricity to those who don’t have reliable sources of power or are looking for a primary one. Our last generation solar home systems make it possible for houses and businesses to produce their electricity in a safe and environmentally friendly manner,” shared Walter Marin.
“Thanks to our proprietary technology, all the products feature high-density power electronics and smart energy management systems to achieve the best reliability and performance for our customer’s power needs. The RAY Family is our series of off-grid solar home systems. The home systems are uniquely designed in Italy and made from high-quality materials using the most innovative technologies,” he further added.
The RAY Family has nine devices that range from 150Wh to 16000Wh. All the devices are designed to use photovoltaic solar energy and battery storage to provide electricity without the grid. Solar energy is harvested through photovoltaic panels. These panels are positioned on a building and are connected to the device with a cable.
The Secret Ingredients
The Ray Family devices are individually sized to suit the consumer’s needs for households or businesses.
The Ray Family features:
- Noise and emissions-free.
- Setup for a Pay-As-You-Own model.
- The devices are extremely durable and made of high-quality materials.
- Plug-and-play or easy instalment.
Delivering zero-kerosene solution which protects the environment and zero-defect products which minimize the impact of electronic waste.
The off-grid industry in Africa has made great strides but this is only the beginning. As prices for solar panels and battery technologies fall, the compact design improves, and the pay-as-you-own model proves its effectiveness and becomes widely adopted, the goal now is to make it sustainable.
Walter Marin and the team are thinking long term. To avoid future impediments to the growth of the solar industry, they are creating capital-efficient solutions for customers who need more than just subsistence levels of energy. Increasing the level of electrification in rural Africa is an important step towards building an inclusive future, but it won’t guarantee the sustainability of the energy sector.
Instead, they aim to start the adoption of off-grid solar home systems with the economic prospects located in urban and peri-urban areas, which will then allow them to subsidize part of the costs of expansion to rural communities. This approach is a more commercially sustainable approach and will help them reach equal distribution inclusion in the long term. By targeting SMEs and farmers at scale, they are helping them to grow their businesses and improve their living conditions, as well as creating a ripple effect at the community level.
Creating and maintaining the sustainability of these solutions in Africa is key to meeting long-term economic growth. They envision energy investment as the first step towards urban and rural resilience.
Primary Challenges & Support System
Find the right people at the right time was one of the major hurdles in the way of Walter Marin. His university and PhD studies and his father taught him to work hard and humbly.
Favourite Book-“The Bible”
To help to achieve the sustainable development goals set by the UN in particular decent energy access for all by 2030. The team is working with strong partnership especially in Myanmar, the Philippines, South America and Africa to achieve the SGD 7 target to have energy access for all.
The global energy revolution offers an unprecedented opportunity to transform the energy sector in all aspects. They see an opportunity to harness the power of natural resources to leapfrog the fossil-intensive energy regime for the unfulfilled electricity market. They are extending their footprint in the sub-Saharan Africa region so it can bypass the conventional path of energy development and maximize directly the use of solar power through distributed networks of solar home systems and water pumps, which are efficient and environmentally friendly. They are testing new sustainable models and work closely with local stakeholders to extend a green and prosperous future to millions of people.
Feather in the Cap
Plug The Sun is honoured with Hong Kong’s Most Outstanding Innovator in CleanTech.
“The innovation lies in the ability of our system to deliver high-density power electronic circuit and smart battery management which could keep healthy and prolong the life of the battery; together with pay as you go and FinTech solution, it provides a package to the end-user to improve and change his life.”
“The core of our strategy is to create long-term growth and improve economic livelihoods by generating energy to power appliances that increase productivity and improve the quality of life tools such as laptops, water pumps, and water purifiers. We want to see in Africa a thriving private-sector where everyone is financially included and globally connected.”
“Our priority is to provide decentralized, reliable and affordable energy solutions but this is just the enabler for other services and opportunities that can create sustainable growth and urban and rural resilience. To this end, we work with private investors, real estate developers, financial institutions, governments and no profit to provide unique solutions.”