Dr. Sarah Müller On Implementing And Scaling Renewable Energy Solutions — Impact Boom | Social Impact Blog & Podcast | Global Changemaker Community | Social Innovation, Enterprise, Design

How can businesses most effectively engage and integrate renewable energy sources into their own activities?

It’s definitely a growing space, but what I realise coming from a platform that dealt with what employees want, it’s also becoming more important for employees their employers act sustainably and have the right tools to become energy neutral and independent. I think we see it at zolar. We focus on the consumer and households out there, but we definitely are getting a lot of B2B requests. These are companies that really look into how they can put solar panels on office buildings and transition to more green and renewable energy. From a P2V company perspective, the most important thing when transitioning to renewable energy is to look at it holistically, so that you look into your whole value chain and carbon footprint. What is great from my perspective is that there are actually a lot of start-ups that have evolved in the last year that help companies through this transition. There are a lot of start-ups such as Planetly that really help companies track and improve their carbon footprint, and I think that’s a rule to go to. If you have a B2B business, look at your entire value change, make sure you measure your footprint and then transition step by step.

What advice would you have for an entrepreneur who is intending to create and scale their own start-up incorporating impact into its activities?

For me, the clear advice is purpose first.

As an entrepreneur in the social and impact space, you really need to know what you stand for as an entrepreneur, a company and what is the purpose of your company? Then, don’t sacrifice it.

Especially when you are a young company, you will always have the challenge of how to monetise and grow faster. But from my experience, if you have nailed your purpose, this is really a North Star for yourself as an entrepreneur, but then also for your entire company and employees. It’s a very powerful leadership tool which helps you navigate through all the challenges you might encounter as a young start-up. Know your purpose and stick to it, no matter what. 

What inspiring projects or initiatives have you come across recently that are creating a positive social change?

There are actually two initiatives which we are supporting with zolar. One is the Undiri Support Project, which takes place in the North of Bangladesh. This project helps families to install solar panels. Basically, the whole initiative is about building solar panels on family houses roofs, and this helps them to become more independent. I think what we see here in the developed market is the same as there; people want to become independent from the grid. Then, they can self-produce electricity. They have electricity and can get rid of petrol lamps and families then have light and electricity at night. Then, if you look into the long term effects, this helps children to do their homework in the evening and have time to study, because a lot of these families are working during the day. I think that’s really an initiative where renewable energy makes a change to people’s lives. But you do not always need to go as far as Bangladesh to see amazing projects. There is also an initiative here in Berlin called the Masterplan Solarcity. Berlin wants to generate 25% of its electricity needs by solar, so this is a large scale project that might lead the biggest city in Germany to foster energy independence.