2021 was among the hottest years on record, yet the global temperature is projected to get even warmer due to human activity. Globally, approximately 43 billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted to our atmosphere each year, and asides from temperatures rising, the effects of climate change are being felt worldwide, from rising sea levels to an increase in natural disasters and everything in between.
Mitigating the climate crisis can be achieved by driving renewable energy adoption, such as solar energy, to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. The 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report further affirmed the benefits of solar energy by stating that solar energy is the most efficient cost-effective solution for combating climate change. By harnessing energy from the sun, clean electricity can be generated, resulting in a healthier planet and future for generations to come.
Though solar energy is a viable solution to help reduce our carbon output, the availability of it as an energy source to the general population is sorely lacking. Moreover, solar adoption data and predictions are alarming and illogical. Today, almost 80% of homeowners in the U.S. have shown interest in going solar but only 3% did and by 2030 only 10% will. It is clear that the problem isn't awareness but rather just a bad plan of action. It is this market gap that Rhino Eco, the Israeli solar startup, decided to fill.
Making solar energy easy
Rhino Eco is on a mission to increase solar energy adoption by making the transition to solar energy simple, affordable, and accessible through flexible solar financing options; they want to make solar accessible to everyone. The company set out to develop unique models and cutting-edge software technology to increase the implementation of already existing [solar] hardware technologies that have proven to be efficient and cost-effective. They are the first Israeli startup to sell electricity directly to homeowners in the United States and the first company in North America to incorporate the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) model into the solar industry— redefining what it means to go solar.
Currently, Rhino provides solar dealers and installers with a digital point-of-sale financing platform for residential clients in the tri-state area. They do so with a flexible financing platform that provides simple and tailored financing plans to fit every client, regardless of their demographic background or financial capabilities. As co-founder and CEO Arik Becker stated, “We focused our solution on helping dealers and installers increase their conversion with a BNPL solution - boosting their consumer confidence and allowing for a more convenient and simple way to enjoy solar. We understood that homeowners are concerned with how the system will perform and are afraid to invest in an unfamiliar asset like solar. So, we made it easy for them - we take care of everything throughout the system’s life, from seamless financing to AI-powered system management tools that allow them to enjoy savings from sustainable energy - effortlessly.
Rhino Eco is also developing a “Green Community Initiative״, which aims to build carbon-neutral homes by self-sustaining its own electricity needs and providing additional sustainable products like storage and EV chargers. To incorporate solar as a standard in new construction, Rhino Eco has already partnered with national solar providers like Tesla and with some of the top real estate developers in the U.S. In their Green Community Initiative pilot, all new construction will be sold with already installed solar, making it easy for homeowners to simply enjoy the fruit it bears.
One thing that sticks out about Rhino Eco is its vibrant name and logo. In a conversation with Geektime, Zohar Gorgel (co-founder and CTO) shared with us why they chose this name: “We tend to laugh and say it’s because the founding team has big noses - but the truth is, we chose Rhino because when thinking of Rhinos, the first thing that often comes to mind is heavy, serious, and threatening. Those are the same adjectives used to describe the current and traditional ways of going solar. But we’re here to change that, which is why we made the happiest pink rhino out there– in our name and logo, we are trying to reflect that we are here to make solar easy, fun, and accessible.”
Though making solar accessible to the masses seem like a daunting task, Becker and Gorgel are up to the challenge, and their can-do attitude was one of the many lessons they took with them during their service in the IDF intelligence corps. Zohar shares that “Being a part of the intelligence community for so many years really broadens your mind and perception of what is possible. I’ve seen what a group of mission-driven people can achieve while utilizing technology, out-of-the-box thinking, and a sense of urgency.”
Rhino Eco was founded in 2021 by Arik Becker (CEO) and Zohar Gorgel (CTO). In January of 2022, Rhino Eco launched operations in New York and has already signed 15 partnership agreements with solar dealers across the state. The list of additional solar dealers wishing to work with Rhino continues to grow. They plan on expanding into other states across America, as well as to European countries.