Karolina Ottspodina, Founder of We Do Solar, is a Ukrainian entrepreneur based in Berlin. She is on a mission to make home grown renewable energy available to everyone – whether or not you own a home.
“We launched in February this year. It was a complete coincidence that the war broke out at the same time. It definitely was a super hard time because I also have family, and a lot of friends in Ukraine. I was going to the borders, picking people up, developing my product, talking to investors, and it was just a completely crazy time. But now it’s a bit easier because I know that everyone is at least safe,” says Karolina.
The We Do Solar kit consists of 8 solar panels that can be installed on your balcony, they’re super lightweight and thin and they’re easy to install. They also have an app where customers can see how much CO2 they’re saving and how much electricity they’re producing.
Solar power has seen remarkable growth across Europe and already delivered significant cost-savings for European consumers. According to industry group SolarPower Europe, use of solar power in Europe nearly doubled in 2022.
The EU installed 47% more solar in 2022 compared to 2021 – enough to power 12.4 million homes, and Euronews reports that in 2022 the bloc’s capacity to generate solar increased by 25% overall.
“The European Union has made significant progress in reducing reliance on Russian natural gas supplies, but it is not out of the danger zone yet,” said the International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Many of the circumstances that allowed EU countries to fill their storage sites ahead of this winter may well not be repeated in 2023. The IEA’s new analysis shows that a stronger push on energy efficiency, renewables, heat pumps and simple energy saving actions is vital to head off the risk of shortages and further vicious price spikes next year.”
For We Do Solar, current market conditions have created the impetus for fast expansion: “right now, says Karolina, “we’re shipping to 24 countries in Europe and we will have the UK on that list very soon. There is huge demand for the product and of course, when the war broke out, our demand went up.
“We are in contact with the government in Ukraine and can launch in Ukraine when the time is right. Right now, what is needed in Ukraine is generators which are off-grid. My solution works when the grid is there.”
How much of a cost reduction do people get with your balcony-installed solar solution?
“It depends on how much you can install in your home and every single country has its own regulation on how much you can install by yourself without an electrician. So for example, in Germany, it’s 600 watt and this is what our set currently provides. It’s 600 watt, and that can reduce up to 25% of your electricity bills.
Of course, if you want to install more and you have the space also to install more, you can do so with the help of an electrician.”