Network Posts

Invitation to Guest Lecture at TAMK:
Direct Solar Energy - Theory and Practice

Posted Saturday 24 November 2018 by Urs Riggenbach.

This Friday November 30th, Eerik Wissenz, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of our project has been invited to give a lecture at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). The lecture is following our previous collaboration with TAMK where we supported students’ thesis projects related to solar thermal energy. Eerik will cover the energy situation in the developing world and the interdisciplinary process of creating real world solutions.


Open Invitation:

This lecture is open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Time: 12:15-15:00

Classroom: B420

Campus: Kuntokatu 3, 33520 Tampere, Finland


About our Cooperation with TAMK:

Tampere University of Applied Sciences is a higher education institution oriented towards working life and RDI co-operation. Their strengths are multidisciplinary education, creativity, and a strong international dimension.

Our cooperation with TAMK is focused on advancing sustainable development through final theses projects, lecturing and co-creation projects.

Solar Forest - Evening Reception
November 27th, San Francisco

Posted Tuesday 20 November 2018 by Urs Riggenbach. and Forest Trends are hosting an evening reception to celebrate our partnership to reduce deforestation and empower local communities with our innovative solar thermal solution. The event will bring together project supporters, impact investors, leaders from the environmental conservation community and friends of the Amazon.

Join us November 27th, 6PM in San Francisco

Solar Forest

An Evening Reception
Empowering Indigenous Communities in the Amazon

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
6 - 8 PM
26 Buena Vista Terrace
San Francisco, CA 94117

GoSol and Forest Trends would like to thank Z Woodman for generously opening her beautiful home to raise awareness for our critical work.

GoSol’s solar thermal solution is providing access to clean heat for farmers, entrepreneurs and SME’s in the developing world. With our SOL5 solar concentrator, entrepreneurs are baking, roasting and dehydrating food and boosting their income. Over the last two years we’ve empowered communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Now we are bringing our positive impact to the Amazon.

Through the Communities Initiative, Forest Trends supports the Yawanawa and the Surui people of the Brazilian Amazon to conserve their forests and improve their livelihoods. Agricultural expansion for soy, cattle ranching and illegal logging and mining are rampant in the Amazon, but indigenous communities are fighting against the loss of their forests and cultures. Forest Trends works with local communities in securing their rights, livelihoods and culture.

Globally, indigenous people are at the frontlines, protecting 60-80% of our world’s biodiversity but at the same time have very limited access to the world’s resources. By enabling them to tap into the power of the sun, create local wealth and run value-adding food processing without burning wood but direct sunlight, we aim to prove a new and scalable pathway to support forest-based livelihoods.

We will watch a short presentation, showing how high tech and low tech is working hand in hand to empower people. The project started October 2018 in the state of Rondônia, Brazil, working with the Surui indigenous people. We would love you to join us at this celebratory event. There will be drinks and light refreshments, and maybe even some of our solar baked cookies!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Meeting UN Agencies in Copenhagen

Posted Tuesday 13 November 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

I’m in Copenhagen at the UN procurement seminar, surrounded by people who deeply want this world to be a better place, meeting different agencies who are all extremely receptive to our work, as well as very interesting companies (165 small, medium and big companies attending from Nordic countries).

Yesterday morning, the presentations of Grete Faremo (Under Secretary General and Executive Director, UNOPS) and Markku Keinänen (Under State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland) were of particular interest.

We have heard great presentations from UN agents who made it very clear how transparency and fairness are key in their procurement. How to integrate sustainable practices and innovation was also very debated among all these inspirational participants.

As our last video shows, it’s an important moment for our project and we want to find more partners. Panel discussions and 1 to 1 meetings were very inspirational and during all the seminar it was really great to see that participants are so willing to cooperate for a more sustainable future! Showcase at SOCAP’18 San Francisco

Posted Thursday 1 November 2018 by Urs Riggenbach.

Last week we got to showcase GoSol at the SOCAP conference in San Francisco, October 23rd to 27th, 2018. Autodesk Foundation hosted an evening reception at their Gallery on One Market, in collaboration with Acumen, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Village Capital.

For the showcase I prepared a table-top version of our solar concentrator, using the CNC laser-cutters at Autodesk’s Technology Center where we did a 4 month impact residency last year. It was great to be back for a short afternoon in this amazing CNC workshop and fabricate high-precision pieces based on the Fusion 360 CAD I prepared during my flight to the US.

The showcase was a great opportunity to connect to investors, NGOs and partners to scale our impact after completing the piloting phase earlier this year. In addition, SOCAP conference had over 3000 attendants and gave us a great overview over the who’s who of the social capital / and impact investing landscape globally.

I’m excited to follow up on the many connections made that will play a big role in scaling our impact. Stay tuned!

Images courtesy of Jenny Jiang, Autodesk Foundation.

Announcing Partnership with Forest Trends

Posted Saturday 20 October 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

GoSol is landing in South America! We are very happy about our latest partnership with the organization Forest Trends and excited to start in Brazil where we have a lot of demand for our SOL5.

Forest Trends is a US based NGO supported by USAID and IKEA Foundation. One of their goals is to support the creation of supply chains that allow the indigenous communities to market sustainable harvested forest produce. By supporting the sustainable production of for example roasted nuts, dried seeds and fruits, it becomes possible to leverage globalization to improve the livelihoods of the indigenous communities and strengthen their position to protect the forests.

The cooperation between GoSol, Forest Trends and the indigenous communities starts by identifying the most value-adding uses for solar thermal energy and how to best boost the local communities’ livelihoods. For many energy intensive processes, such as dehydrating, roasting and other food processing, the GoSol technology will allow the communities to tap into the free power of the sun, for processes for which they would have had to use firewood.

Once the first phase of the project is completed, the solution can then be scaled to support indigenous communities throughout the world’s rainforests to protect their livelihoods and enable sustainable supply chains.

The project started October 2018 in the state of Rondônia, Brazil.

The Amazon, the worlds largest rain forest home to many indigenous communities.
Indigenous communities are at the forefront of forest preservation.

Transition Time for GoSol: New Video,
Scaling the Direct Solar Economy

Posted Friday 19 October 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

Dear Friends, Partners, Customers and Followers,

It’s an important moment for us: GoSol has achieved the Direct Solar Economy vision! By providing a clean source of energy to SME’s and farmers, a sustainable economy has started in sunny developing countries.

The educational trainings with Plan International in Uganda is the last building brick of our vision. Everything that had to be proven is proven now: the SOL5 is working, it can be produced locally, entrepreneurs are using it daily, it has a measured impact, and many young trainees want to start a sustainable business right now (and some already did!). The market is there and international partners are working with us... Now is the time to scale up.

In this 5min video, we are presenting our journey, our ecosystem of amazing partners and supporters and the achievements over the past years.

We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do. Big thanks to Urs Riggenbach and our amazing video maker, Basile Remaury!

Can GoSol be useful in South East Asia?

Posted Thursday 30 August 2018 by Trân Ngô.

Sponsored by our partner Autodesk Foundation, our Junior Project Manager is just back from her field trip to Vietnam for the second phase of the Vietnam Market Access Program (VMAP+), a program supported by the Finnish Innovation Partnership Program (IPP). Here are her impressions and interesting approach of Vietnam SME’s interested in GoSol solutions.

It was an amazing journey in the position of Junior Project Manager Vietnam that I want to share with you. During Summer 2018, the main aims of my travel to Vietnam was to represent our company GoSol to the potential partners and do the market identification through community visits.

With the network GoSol is starting to have from VMAP since last year, this time I had the chance to meet potential partners who are interested in developing semi-industrial applications as well as humanitarian projects with us. In addition, for our educational plan, I met the representative from the Ho Chi Minh University of Technology to consider our cooperation in educational training and raising local awareness about environmental protection.

Thanks to the help of a local partner, the very dynamic NGO “Ben Tre’s Young Creative Group”, I got a successful field trip to Ben Tre Province, met the local people who are in need of our clean solar technology and discussed with the local government about local trademark and enterprise development.

Discussion with the People’s Committee of Binh Thang, Ben Tre Province.

One of the most interesting communities that I have visited is the Rice paper craft village. They produced 1000 rice papers per day from 40 kg of rice. They are burning charcoal and wood to steam the rice paper and then dry it under the sun. Mrs. Huyen, the owner of one small business said: “I wish to replace my current fuel burning to save money and have a temperature-controlled solution that gets rid of the insects with the old sun-drying method, fastens the production and produces a better quality product”. GoSol obviously fits their need.

Tran Ngô and Mrs. Huyen, rice paper craft village, Ben Tre Province
Wood needed for rice paper production

Moreover, because they are a traditional craft village and want to boost the local tourism, they hope our drying machines to be visible from outside for the tourists to see their sustainable production. They were very excited about our technology and I was also impressed by their entrepreneur spirit.

Drying rice paper craft village in My Thanh Commune, Ben Tre Province
Ready for sale!

Another fascinating community I visited is the “Drying fish village”. Vietnam has a long sea border, so seafood products are very popular with large capacity which leads to the problem of product conservation. In this village, there are 40-50 households drying fish. One small household production can dry 200-500kg of fish per day so overall is a massive amount. It takes 6 to 8 hours to dry the fish outside. Local people are also eager to change their old method of direct sun-drying with many constraints in term of product quality to our faster solar drying technique. Mr. Hong, the owner of one household production said: “We have large space for drying, large capacities and don’t have labour, only family production so our current drying method is very hard work. Therefor we are really in need for drying ovens”.

Drying Fish Village in Binh Thang Commune, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province
Drying Fish Village in Binh Thang Commune

Vietnam not only has a high need for drying applications, but also very much for the process of roasting coffee. I had the chance to visit a semi-industrial coffee roasting factory from “Mr. Chi Coffee” and to have a great discussion with the owner for our further cooperation for solar roasted coffee trademark in Vietnam.

Mr. Chi Coffee’s Factory in Ho Chi Minh city
Roasted coffee machine

With our past experience through the fish drying project, GoSol is confident that our solar oven can be their best free clean energy and adaptable solution.

In her next post, Tran will present how GoSol technology can be useful for a specific niche market.

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