Insolar Solar Umbrella: Democratizing Access to Solar Energy
(7 pages of text)
In the winter of 2019, the Brazilian entrepreneur and founder of Insolar was proud of what he had accomplished in the five years since the company’s launch. His vision to democratize access to solar energy in Brazil was finally starting to become a reality. Insolar had installed solar panels that were providing a sustainable energy source to 5,000 residents in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The company had also founded an institute to train low-income residents on the installation of solar panels and was continuously designing new innovations to increase the institute’s impact. The founder was ready to make an additional investment and expand the Insolar brand. He had just received word from his research and development team that the final version of his most recent project, the solar kit, would be complete within the next year. However, he still had reservations about launching the product and had to make some key decisions before it could be ready for the market. What would be his next steps on the path to democratize solar energy?
This case was designed as an opening case for managerial accounting and control courses, in the first year of an undergraduate or graduate program. The case introduces various problem-solving and external-reporting issues, such as relevant costs, depreciation, break-even point, and contribution margin. In addition to these concepts, the case raises several issues that are relevant to other courses, including the topics of entrepreneurship, capital budgeting, capacity, and marketing new products. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- prepare an analysis of a new venture and its competitive environment;
- identify the relevant and types of costs—fixed, variable, start-up—for a new venture;
- calculate and interpret the concepts of contribution margin and break-even point;
- appreciate the importance of sustainability and corporate social responsibility; and
- understand how new ventures are financed.
Brazil, Small, 2019
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