How YellowTin is simplifying access to clean energy

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

In this Q&A with YellowTin's founder Vishwas Ganesan, you'll learn: 

My name is Vishwas Ganesan and I am on a mission to simplify and democratize access to clean energy. As a clean energy industry veteran, one day I realized there was no consumer-centric platform to spur clean energy adoption. Faced with daily news headlines about the worsening climate crisis and a personal drive to electrify my home and lifestyle, I founded YellowTin as a means to educate and empower consumers to adopt clean technologies in ways that create cost savings and reduce carbon emissions. Check out my team at YellowTin.com.

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  1. Tell us about YellowTin and why you decided to tackle clean energy.

    Before founding YellowTin, I worked in the clean energy sector for over 15 years. After purchasing my first home in California, I decided to explore ways to power my home with solar energy. What I thought would be a simple and easy process turned into a four-month roller coaster ride filled with frustration, lack of access to complete cost and savings information associated with going electric, and overbearing time commitments.

    I remember thinking to myself, “If I experienced all of these issues as a person who is from the clean energy space, others pursuing a path to electrification would have no clue how to go about it.” I began validating this belief with friends, neighbors, and relevant stakeholders. I discovered that there were no consumer-centric platforms for clean energy adoption on the market, which explained why solar penetration for residential markets was so low while solar customer acquisition costs are so high. I thought again to myself, “Who better to solve this problem than someone who has experienced it first hand and now understands the market?

    So, I founded YellowTin. YellowTin’s consumer engagement platform educates and empowers consumers to switch to more cost-effective, electricity-based solutions in their homes and lifestyles, with the mission of simplifying and democratizing access to clean energy.


  2. What informed your approach to building YellowTin? Why are you focusing on consumer purchasing decisions? Also, what's the story behind the name?

    In the beginning, we were debating on whether to focus on commercial and industrial property owners (C&I) or residential customers. We soon realized that with C&I, there is typically a sophisticated team of buyers that go through a meticulous process to determine the best electrification solutions, but for residential consumers, it is the exact opposite. Most customers  do not have the time, energy, or patience to identify solutions, and thus, will not adopt any.

    The need for an innovative, consumer-centric solution is what ultimately drove us to focus on consumer purchasing decisions, in addition to the dramatic need to reduce residential carbon emissions to stave off the effects of climate change. To this day, 33% of carbon emissions in the United States are directly a result of residential emissions and personal transportation. By empowering a shift in consumer purchasing decisions based on electricity as opposed to natural gas or coal, YellowTin catalyzes a significant momentum towards averting the worst-case scenarios of climate change.

    Flash forward years later, it remains our mission to simplify and democratize access to clean energy at scale. Regarding the YellowTin name, we decided on “Yellow” for its connections to the sun and solar energy, and “Tin” as a method of storing energy.


  3. Many people see sustainability as a trade-off with profit. For example, solar panels are associated with a high up-front cost even if they're subsidized in the long-term. What's your view on sustainability vs. cost, especially people who earn less but are disproportionately affected by climate change?

    YellowTin is actively working to eradicate the common misconception of sustainability being a trade-off with profit. We do this by providing easily accessible, transparent information about the cost savings and emissions reductions associated with various clean technologies on our platform. In our opinion, switching to an electric, sustainable lifestyle has never been more affordable than it is today. It will only continue to become more accessible as innovation and adoption grows.

    From a residential consumer perspective, YellowTin views investments in clean technologies as opportunities to increase monthly energy savings and build value in homes through boosting property value. Of course, all of the above makes sense for people who can afford down payments. For those who cannot upfront investments, YellowTin’s platform provides information on options such as loans, leasing, and on-bill financing to enable low-income households to save over the long term while reducing their carbon emissions. These initiatives are part of YellowTin’s bid to democratize access to clean energy to members of all income brackets.


  4. What are some limitations and challenges with using YellowTin?

    Our challenge is keeping up with the pace of innovation while providing utility-specific, personalized customer experience. For example, users can only share their energy usage data if they are a California resident and have Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) as their utility. We are actively pursuing partnerships with other utilities so that more consumers can provide their energy data. Additionally, YellowTin is also working on adding a fully functioning digital marketplace so that consumers can make their purchases directly. Outside of the limitations and challenges associated with the platform, our team is working vigorously to change consumers’ preconceived notions that sustainability may not offer the level of savings that less sustainable energy options provide.


  5. Tell us more about why YellowTin is unique.

    The way we are tackling the problems associated with electrification is what sets us apart from the rest. The YellowTin team takes an empathetic, consumer-centric approach to engaging residential consumers with complete and accurate information regarding lifetime cost savings and emissions reductions associated with a wide variety of clean technologies. We provide each user with a personalized roadmap to electrification. YellowTin platform users can gamify their electrification research by easily adding and removing clean technologies to their portfolio. In this process, users become more aware of the impact of these technologies from cost, savings, and emissions perspectives. This path to empowerment instills consumer confidence and sets the wheels in motion towards championing users to take action and become advocates for saving money and cutting carbon emissions through electrification.


  6. There are so many companies that claim to provide similar solutions — why should we trust yours?

    I would contend the assumption that there are so many companies providing similar solutions. Most of the other platforms we are aware of focus on selling certain products and making a commission. YellowTin, on the other hand, is committed to educating consumers on adopting clean energy technologies into their lifestyles through providing unbiased and objective data. As far as the element of trust is concerned, I founded YellowTin based on my personal experiences researching and educating myself on ways to electrify my home and do what I can to stave off the effects of climate change. Through YellowTin being born out of a problem, businesses and utility companies trust that my team provides complete, impartial information with the primary goal being first to educate and empower consumers, as opposed to making a commission.


  7. Other than your company, what are some of your favorite tools and resources for fighting climate change?

    Some of my favorite tools and resources for fighting climate change are Slack groups composed of climate-focused professionals. Groups like ClimateAction.Tech, Work on Climate and Energy Network are full of industry professionals open to collaborating, discussing, and testing new ways to fight climate change. I have learned so much from these groups and talking with experts in the climate space and definitely recommend joining.


  8. What is one thing you wish more people understood about the movement for a more sustainable future?

    I wish that more people understood the urgent need to take action against the impending effects of climate change. Such risks will only multiply going forward as we venture further into the damage control phase. I also wish that more people knew how easy it is now to shop and adopt clean energy technologies and that the process is no longer as difficult, stressful, and time-consuming as I found it to be several years ago.


  9. Any advice for people who are new to the fight against climate change or aren't sure what their place is?

    My piece of advice would be for people to focus on the things they can control and take immediate action on.

    Ask questions like, where are you getting your energy from? What kind of energy is it? Does your service provider offer cleaner alternatives? What sustainable options are you opting to include in your diet? What lifestyle choices of yours could be made more sustainable? Answering these questions can help people determine their carbon footprint and identify new choices and habits to adopt to live more sustainably. In the future, residential consumers will be able to sync all of their energy consumption data with YellowTin’s platform no matter where they live in the United States and get access to recommendations for optimizing their energy usage via clean technologies they are interested in.

Fight climate change in a way that works for you.

💌 Thinking about sustainability can be overwhelming after a busy workday, so we're here to help. Join over 4,000 other busy people and subscribe to Changeletter, a bite-sized action plan that'll take you 3 minutes or less to read every week.
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Headshot of Ash Borkar (a woman with glasses and a cardigan)
"The info is always timely, actionable, and never stale." - Aishwarya Borkar, Change.org
Headshot of Meghan Mehta speaking at Google with a microphone in her hand
"Making social change always felt so overwhelming until I started reading this newsletter." - Meghan Mehta, Google