Help fight the climate crisis and support positive solutions like solar energy. Find out more about community solar from 350 Australia’s partner, ShineHub; or host a screening of Accelerate in your community to raise awareness of how we can take climate action.
Alex Georgiou co-founded Shinehub in 2016 to help make solar power more accessible for people.
He’s been instrumental in creating a digital marketplace for solar energy that connects people directly with solar products, payment options, and local installers as part of its Community Solar Programs.
The long-term goal for Shinehub is to replace ‘Big Energy’ with ‘Community Solar’. The platform connects people directly with solar installers, and offers services to help people fund solar installation.
Interestingly, while Australia is the “proving ground” for the concept, the vision goes beyond one continent. The end goal is to inspire new approaches to infrastructure in developing countries. We chatted to Alex about the inspiration behind Shinehub, and his plans for the future.
Developing nations – the right way
In college, Alex was inspired by the thought of doing something that matters. He turned his focus to solar power because of its potential to positively impact climate change.
“In the developing world, if you look at the top countries by population, a majority of these don’t have reliable power,” Alex said. “The opportunity is to build it right from the start.
“While Shinehub is starting in Australia, we’re really looking to build fully sustainable energy and power in developing countries. That can make the biggest impact on climate change.”
Alex and the Shinehub team know their goal is ambitious, but believe it’s necessary to take action now.
“If those countries develop the way our countries have – we’re in trouble” Alex said.
“Solar power will have a massive impact, allowing us to build economies and infrastructure in a sustainable way, while keeping costs down.”
Effects of climate change are everywhere
Alex notes that climate change is becoming more and more ‘in your face’.
“The headline today in South Australia is about severe water droughts for farmers in the Murray River region,” he said. “It’s almost a daily thing now. We’re seeing tangible effects. We’ve never seen tsunamis and cyclones ripping through countries like they are now. Even in the US, where I’m from, we’ve seen these ‘ice storm winters’. I never saw that growing up.”
For Alex, these clear signs indicate that we need to do something soon.
“It’s apparent that if we don’t do anything, we’re setting up future generations for failure,” he noted. “There’s no good way forward if we don’t do anything about it.”
He also recognises that while climate change is set to impact humans in a big way, it’s not just us that will be affected by mankind’s lack of action.
“Lives are at stake here. Not just for us but for our ecosystems,” he said. “I recently went to New Zealand and was struck by how much more untouched it is from a nature perspective. You can see how beautiful and valuable nature is. It would be a shame to lose that… And it would also be a shame to lose us!”
Solar power can make a difference
Alex believes that using solar energy is “the single most impactful thing people can do to reduce their carbon footprint”.
This is largely because using solar energy is something that helps people maintain their lifestyles, rather than forcing them to adjust the way they live.
“There are smaller things people can do, like recycling and being conscious with waste,” he added, “but I’ve found that if people sacrifice their lifestyle, we’ll only get a small percentage to make the change. If we find solutions to help maintain lifestyles and reduce costs, that’s how we can scale this to more people.”
Alex stated that he’s constantly hearing from communities who want to use solar power and build self-sufficiency. He said, “The technology is there. By working with governments and organisations, we can make it work.”
Help fight the climate crisis and support positive solutions like solar energy. Find out more about community solar, and host a screening of Accelerate in your community to raise awareness of how we can take climate action.