What Is The Impact Of The Solar Industry On The Built Environment? With Christopher Hopper & Samuel Adeyemo
Summary: In this episode of the Propcast, Louisa speaks with Christopher Hopper & Samuel Adeyemo from Aurora Solar about what effect the growing solar industry can have on the built environment. They discuss how their technology is changing the way that solar panels are designed and fitted, saving on emissions and reducing money for the end consumer. You’ll learn more about the career opportunities within renewable energy projects within PropTech and Christopher and Samuel’s best advice for anyone looking to enter the industry at this exciting time.
Key Insights From This Episode:
- We started a non-profit organization that developed off-grid electrification solutions for developing countries... We electrified about 600 homes over the course of a couple of years, mostly through solar power. - Christopher
- Obviously solar is renewable energy. You're not burning fossil fuels in are causing emissions. - Samuel
- As we move to more decentralisation, I can't think of anything that's much more decentralised than being able to control and own your own energy. - Samuel
- Unfortunately, when there are in natural disasters, it's a poignant reminder to people that a) we need to do something about it, and b) if you're concerned about reliability and independence, solar is something that you should seriously consider. - Samuel
- Solar is a super interesting space, and in a very interesting time. It's a space that matters and that's pretty rare combination. - Chris
- In the last decade or so, we've seen the early stages of this massive shift from large centralised fossil fuel nuclear base generation, towards distributed renewables that are much more dynamic. - Christopher
Keywords: renewable energy, solar panels, ESG, climate change, emissions
About Our Guests:
Christopher Hopper, Co-Founder & CEO, Aurora Solar
Christopher Hopper is the Co-founder and CEO of Aurora Solar, the solar industry’s leading platform for solar PV system design and sales. Prior to founding Aurora, Chris co-founded e.quinox and BBOXX, a charitable organization and a startup focused on developing sustainable rural electriﬁcation solutions for the developing world. He received an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and an MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London.
Samuel Adeyemo, Co-Founder & CRO, Aurora Solar
Samuel Adeyemo is the co-founder and CRO of Aurora Solar, a software application used by solar professionals to design and sell solar PV installations. Prior to Aurora, Samuel was Co-Founder of Vituo Technologies, a solar EPC that installs small commercial PV systems in emerging markets. Samuel started his career at JPMorgan, where he was a Vice President in the bank's Chief Investment Oﬃce, and was responsible for investing the bank's assets. Samuel got his AB from the University of Chicago, and his MBA and MSc from Stanford University.
About Aurora Solar
Aurora Solar was founded in 2013 with the idea that well-built digital tools could transform the process of how solar projects are designed and sold, paving the way for scalability and cost reduction. Fast forward to today, Aurora is the industry’s leading software platform, trusted by thousands of solar industry leaders around the world.
To date, over 7 million solar projects have been designed in Aurora. Aurora Solar was named Rising Star Company by S&P Global Platts in 2020, and ranked on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 2021 list.
About Our Host
Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).
LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people's careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.
[02:30 ] What is the founding story or Aurora Solar?
- Along with a couple of friends, Chris started a non-profit bringing off grid power to developing countries.
- Chris and Sam met at Stanford Business School and both shared a passion for entrepreneurship.
- Now they make software for solar companies to help them scale their business design and support adoption of solar.
[06:40 ] What are the major ESG components of solar, how does it slow down climate change?
- Aurora takes all of the manual processes of design and fit of solar panels and turns them into easy digital processes.
- By nature, the product is ESG as it is all done remotely.
[11:00 ] Do you have a challenge with people who are less used to tech being slower to adopt your software?
- The technology has proven itself; we have validations from various places and customers are seeing it themselves.
[13:00 ] Is it right that you’ve delivered over 7 million solar projects?
- We help out clients and scientists do work in the field. The work of Aurora is behind the scenes and we don’t take credit for the project, but we support the end-to-end process through the software.
[14:30 ] What major trends have you seen from customers?
- During the snowstorm in Texas last year, we saw Texas having the highest per capital number of solar designs created, which wouldn’t have been the case in the past.
- People have seen a problem and want to have more independence and reliability with their energy.
[17:45 ] What are the career opportunities in this space?
- Energy is undergoing such a huge transition right now. It’s an interesting trend with a lot of challenges to shift to a future powered by renewable energy.
- There's a lot that software can actually do to bring down the cost of, solar which ultimately will drive adoption.
- The work is meaningful, the product is interesting, the value of what you’re selling is clear with some explanation.
[23:00 ] The LMRE part of the podcast. L - what is the main lesson you’ve learned? M - mention someone or give a shoutout to a product or service. R – what is the most rewarding part of working in PropTech? E – what are you most excited about for the future?
- L – Follow your personal interests. Don’t make a plan B, go for broke.
- M - Brian Bartholomeusz from TomKat Centre for Sustainable Energy at Stanford, the team at Aurora and Fifth Wall as investors.
- R – Being able to have an impact.
- E – Bringing new technology to the market.
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