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Ukraine has come a long way since 2009 when the natural gas crisis with Russia threatened to shut down the nation’s economy and freeze into submission its population of 44 million. Today, the country has greatly decreased its previous direct dependence on Russia for natural gas with its ability to purchase Gazprom’s output from the company’s other customers. The country has also taken steps to implement renewable energy.
Exemplifying this trend is Sirocco Energy, a company founded in Kyiv (Kiev) by Oleksandr Pryjmak (CT), Anna Pryjmak (Bezborodova) (CEO) and Taras Vodyanyy (COO) in 2016.
In the summer of that year, Oleksandr Pryjmak, who had been experimenting with different types of wind generators for three years, developed the first version of the company’s wind panel. It is designed to operate in an urban environment where free space is at a premium and noise pollution from the more traditional horizontal-axis or vertical-axis wind turbines can be a major issue. The Sirocco wind panel is rectangular in shape and can be installed on the rooftop of a high-rise building.
“Ukraine plans to have 25% of energy from renewables in 2020. Now we have around four percent so we are far away from the goal. But the Ukrainian Government is doing a lot to push it and to create some opportunities to make it happen,” said Ms. Pryjmak.
In 2017, Ukraine adopted a new law to improve the outlook for the country’s renewable energy industry and help establish the legal framework. It offers a feed-in tariff (FIT) to accelerate investment in renewable energy and “bonuses” for the use of locally produced equipment.
In terms of funding, the co-founders “boot-strapped” the company along with financial help from one angel investor and entrepreneur, Roman Kravchenko.
In May 2018, Sirocco was one of five Ukrainian green startups to receive Climate Innovation Vouchers (CIVs) offered by the EBRD and Greencubator through an innovative program to promote green entrepreneurship in Ukraine. The total voucher amount for the five companies is €170,000.
In their product presentation, Sirocco points out that their linear wind generator has several advantages over the traditional horizontal-axis or vertical-axis wind turbines with which it competes. These advantages include low noise, low vibration, adaptability, and affordability.
Sirocco also claims its solution can be installed easily, and that it naturally blends into the local environment.
The energy conversion of Sirocco’s wind panels is 50-60% versus the usual 40% for traditional wind turbines, says Ms. Pryjmak.
In 2016, worldwide small wind energy production reached $530 million and according to a forecast by Grand View Research, it is expected it to hit $1.79 billion by the end of 2025.
The first sales of Sirocco’s wind panels will occur in the second half of 2019 after pilot projects in Ukraine and the U.S. The wind energy generation system will initially be sold at a price of $1,600 per KW and later drop to $1,400 per KW in 2022 when full production ramps up. Its target customers are industrial or commercial property owners in Ukraine, the U.S., the EU and elsewhere.
Sirocco also plans to have an office in the U.S, says Ms. Pryjmak.