ForTheDoers Blog

Fighting electricity poverty with solar energy

Catarina Nauclér 30 March 2017, 15:44

Fortum creates innovative energy solutions that make use of the know-how in solar energy, and promote a better quality of life in new ways.


The Earth absorbs as much energy from the Sun in two hours as would be needed for an entire year. At the same time, 1.3 billion people lack a reliable source of electricity. Up until now there has not been adequate and sufficiently cheap solutions for people who live without electricity. In this situation many people are forced to turn to kerosene, with all its harmful health and environmental effects.

At Fortum, we are now pushing the area in creating innovative energy solutions that allow us to make use of our know-how in solar energy, and to promote a better quality of life in a completely new way. A good example is our cooperation with Futurice, which is important both for developing new technology and for developing new business models in a continually changing branch of the energy sector.

This cooperation unites Fortum’s expertise in energy with Futurice’s expertise in software design. Together we will create a solution that makes it simple for people in developing countries to get electricity. For us this is a whole new way of driving innovation, and with our common goal and pooled expertise we can already see how fruitful our cooperation is.

Our plan is to develop a platform that will help local solar energy suppliers to offer solar energy solutions to their customers more effectively than is currently possible. Using a software-as-a-service concept, these businesses can offer a solution to ensure payment from the end users, and at the same time to provide better customer support, thus making the whole system more reliable. One payment solution is a pay-as-you-go model, which makes it possible for people who don’t have the money to invest in their own solar panels to nonetheless obtain electricity.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of access to electricity in everyday life. It has vitally important impacts on health, education, and the economy. And there are unusually many reasons to be hopeful for the future.

Catarina Nauclér
Fortum's R&D Manager