Solar energy and beyond

Yelloblue — Lebanon’s Top 20

Solarfans

This company is part of Executive’s Top 20 in science and technology. Read more stories of our special report on entrepreneurship in Lebanon, as they’re published here.

 

Yelloblue

 

Antoine Kaldany

Antoine Kaldany

Industry: Alternative energy

Year of incorporation: 2012

Employees: 14

Board of directors: No

Founder: Antoine Kaldany

 

Though alternative energy is emerging thanks to resourceful individuals as a way of dealing with power outages in countries that have frequent cuts, energy sustainability is an issue that affects the whole world. Founder of Yelloblue Antoine Kaldany, in the good entrepreneurial spirit of solving problems in new and creative ways, explains that the company was launched to address the gap in Lebanon between energy demands and available energy resources.

They have two main scopes of business: on the one hand, they do consultancy related to sustainability, such as their green road map for Notre Dame University, and on the other they work on engineering, procurement and contracting of solar photovoltaic and thermal systems. This second venue involves a complex understanding of solar energy, solar panels and thermal energy. They must visit the site to understand the area to work with, including the constraints, shadows, angle of the sun throughout the year, as well as carry out a financial study to see if the savings are interesting, and then integrate the energy systems with EDL and generators.

Since the energy that comes from the sun is best suited to daytime consumers, the greatest demand for this type of product comes from large institutional clients such as hospitals and industry. Clients are mainly in Lebanon and though Kaldany sees a lot of work to be done locally, he nonetheless has ambitions abroad, with the next target being Saudi Arabia.

The pricing model is determined based on kilowatt installed — a panel can make 250 watt-peaks. Without storage, the average price of a watt-peak is between $2.4–2.8 (per watt-peak), and with storage goes up to $4–6 per watt-peak.

The young company is not yet making profits, but they anticipate to break even this year and turn profitable in 2015.

In a market filled with smart and aggressive businesspeople, there are many competitors who see an opportunity with growing demands in alternative energy. Adding to the value of Yelloblue and what we believe gives them a competitive edge over others in the market is their team of engineers and technicians and the direction the company is taking. As Kaldany puts it, “We have to be energy providers, not just installing panels.”

 To substantiate these claims, which most companies make as PR-ish statements, Kaldany says he has three engineers from the team that invest 10 of their working hours per week into research and development. He has also hinted at a project they are working on that would let people pay for what they consume, for which they have raised $500,000.

 Kaldany sees the future of alternative energy in energy storage, claiming that R&D is an important aspect to developing new batteries that are more efficient in terms of both operation and cost.

Livia Murray

Livia covers business, finance and economic policy for Executive.

Thomas Schellen

Thomas Schellen is Executive's editor-at-large. He has been reporting on Middle Eastern business and economy for over 20 years.

*

Top