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Solar Panel Subscription Idea Booming in Spain

This Spanish company installs panels with no upfront investment.

Wouter Draijer, co-founder of SolarMente
Wouter Draijer | SolarMente

Born in New York and raised in Amsterdam, Wouter Draijer is the 29-year-old is CEO and co-founder of SolarMente - a company aiming to change the way people consume and distribute energy in Spain.

The business concept is immediately appealing as its subscription service model allows homeowners (and businesses) to install solar panels with no upfront cost. This innovative idea has attracted investment from such luminaries as Leonardo DiCaprio and US technology startup accelerator Y Combinator.

The idea came to Wouter when he was flying into Barcelona five years ago, and was struck by the near absence of solar panels on the city's roofs. “I come from a country where one out of three households have solar, and there's no sun in the Netherlands - in Amsterdam, it’s always raining,” he tells Euronews Green. “I entered Spain, a country where there’s a lot of sun and there's just no solar energy installation. I felt something is going really wrong here.”

SolarMente’s subscription and service model allows you to install solar panels with no initial investment. Instead, you rent the system for a monthly fee - €50 on average - and start reaping the cost-savings right away. “It's actually saving money from day one without initial investment,” says Wouter. “We found out that especially Spanish people, they don't want to pay €10,000 or €5,000 upfront, they like to see a direct benefit.”

The systems work for around 20 to 25 years, with installation and maintenance included in the subscription fee. Any surplus energy you generate can be used to offset your bill.

“Every time I drive in the Costa Brava or I go anywhere in Spain, I recognise the SolarMente installations, and there are thousands of them,” says Wouter. Currently, only 1 percent of Spanish homes have solar panels, so the company envisages a very bright future.

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