The Greenstar Challenge -
and Opportunity

Is the dysfunctional view of our energy and environmental options, widely advertised by some, the only choice?

An alternative way to look at the energy situation is that it is a huge, and vastly profitable, business opportunity. Consider that 40% of the world's population, 2 billion humans living in over 600,000 villages, have no electricity. This suggests that we are currently only producing about 60% of the electricity the world requires. The market needs to grow tremendously; there is an enormous opportunity for the bold.

Far from decreasing our energy production, we must increase it dramatically if we are to meet our moral obligations with respect to the Less Developed Countries. Yes, we should use our energy more efficiently and with better understanding and wisdom, but no amount of conservation will ever deliver electricity where there is none.

Growth, New Markets

This growth in kilowatt-hours must occur without further degrading the environment. Also, it is reasonably clear that the 40% of the population which is currently not served will never be served by very large, centralized, electrical generating plants and mass distribution systems.

There is not enough capital, nor enough copper, to build out our 20th century power system to create universal access to electricity. This is quite similar to our historical experience with computers. There is no way we could have delivered a mainframe computer to everyone who would have benefited from using one.

We need new technologies if we want to solve our power distribution inequalities and reap the benefits of the solution. Fuel Cells and Photovoltaics may be just the technologies which could unleash this huge growth opportunity. This process of discovery and commercialization is the kind of challenge America has historically thrived on.

Energy and Information Network Parallels

Today's 600+ large scale electrical generating plants in the US are the equivalent of mainframe computers in the information network. They have high costs and high required gross margins. This is why the conventional utility company, looking down-market, can see no value, or opportunity, in servicing the 2 billion people living in over 600,000 villages who can not afford access to a mainframe-like power system.

What Greenstar wants to do is provide these 'down-market' customers with electrical power sources equivalent to microcomputers, laptops, palmtops. We can operate at much lower overhead and thus with much lower margins. Then, as our innovation curve accelerates, we will cross the benefit curve offered by the equivalents of the electrical mainframe, mini, and desktop vendors.

Solar Energy Plus

By moving away from large scale, mechanical generating schemes, our industrial electricity mainframes, and by moving towards Photovoltaics and Fuel Cells, we can envision new sets of possibilities. For example, we can envision, as a first step, an all-wireless solution, using satellite and solar cell technologies, which could provide mutually-reinforcing benefits such as:

  • ultraviolet water purification
  • water desalination
  • internet communication: email, research
  • distance learning, telemedicine
  • ecommerce; direct sales of locally-produced products
  • website hosting
  • multilingual public access to the Web
  • street lighting
  • video theater for public education
  • wellness and health management
  • battery charging station
  • agriculture best practices
  • greenhouse, drip irrigation, pumps
  • pest control
  • coffee, fruit drying
  • grain drying & storage
  • motorized sewing machine
  • sharing cultures and ideas


Our solution will be scaleable and extensible. It will take advantage of Internet standards represented in the Internet Protocol. Further, unlike today's telephone networks, it will be designed so that the "smarts" are at the edges of the network, not in the middle. This supports, as David Isenberg has written, the rapid evolution of "end-point" technologies.

Our team has on-the-ground experience around the world with partners in over 90 countries, with 10-15 resellers in each country. We have some especially rich data from India. Our integration of the existing technologies of our partners will allow us to create a very powerful tool for the Peace Corps. and similar service organizations, both domestically in the US, as well as in many foreign countries with ODA type organizations.

Examples such as these are, we are confident, just the tip of the iceberg: the PV-powered red-headed hairy caterpillar killer is a good example of what a 5 watt light source can accomplish. It increased crop yields by over 50% with no chemicals. A small electric motor attached to a manual sewing machine can more than double productivity and pay for itself in 120 days.

Green Electrons

We will soon see that generating electricity using large mechanical devices, with lots of moving parts, energized by carbon derived from fossil fuels, is both non-essential -- and absurd. We are moving towards a electrical generation paradigm with the least number of moving parts, scaled to point source distribution, consuming carbon free fuels, providing ubiquitous green electrons to empower people.