CAP Financial Innovation Challenge

Powerblocks, a platform to accelerate clean energy access in emerging markets

A financial aggregation solution by Incharge Energy

The solution

Powerblocks is a platform to help increase the profitability and utilization of distributed renewable assets in emerging markets through the financing and provision of productive use off-takers, initially via bitcoin mining, and using smart contracts to pool funding from crypto investors. 

Many renewable energy deployments globally suffer from low-capacity factors because of a lack of diversity of off-takers. In Africa, 140,000 mini-grids are required to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 on universal access to clean, reliable, affordable energy. Today, less than 500 are operating today, fundamentally challenged by regulatory and economic factors. Such projects are difficult logistically, and challenged economically to reach financial viability owing to high costs and low per capita demand. 

One solution put forward by Powerblocks relies on Bitcoin mining, which is a dynamic, highly flexible, scalable, and mobile solution to purchase excess electricity. 

Powerblocks provides a platform as a one-stop service for Bitcoin mining, including finance of CAPEX, hardware procurement, miner operation, and Bitcoin custody. This service supports project developers to enhance their operations, simplifying Bitcoin mining for such parties without distraction from the core business.

Powerblocks will ensure that power plants are used at maximum capacity without impacting the plants' primary off-taker, and generate revenue for operators and communities via purchasing kWh at a discount or sharing the upside of bitcoins mined. By doing so, it would increase the sale of renewable energy and therefore directly aid the project economics and scale-up of new developments.

Powerblocks further innovates by using smart contracts that would pool funding from crypto investors and in return provide each investor with a portion of the mining rewards. To do so, no legal structure is needed currently, but at a later stage the assets might be aggregated in an AssetCo to put them off-balance sheet while being leased out. The infrastructure and the mined Bitcoins could then be sold via exchanges to investors for an Environment and Social Governance premium, tapping into a new investor segment – cryptocurrencies.


How does it work?

Powerblocks maximize the demand power from any renewable asset by utilizing excess capacity for mining Bitcoin. Once the necessary hardware is installed, the software matches the available power to the demand. In the process, Bitcoin is mined, thereby generating revenue. Through digital contracts, the stakeholders are rewarded seamlessly for their respective shares. 


Potential impact


About Incharge Energy

Powerblocks is a digital platform by Incharge to accelerate clean energy access by increasing the profitability and utilization of renewable energy assets.  It aims to improve demand off-take through the provision of stable productive use off-takers, initially via Bitcoin mining. It aims to accelerate the deployment of minigrids by providing them with finance and a stable off-taker for electricity.


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