Between his second and third years studying politics at Yale, Leviste spotted an opportunity back home. Electricity rates in the Philippines are among the highest in Asia, and Leviste was convinced that solar power could bring them down. He invested his savings to set up Solar Philippines in 2013. “In terms of innovation, solar power is nothing new,” he says, adding that it’s more important to find a business model that works. Solar Philippines buys its panels from different suppliers and then provides its customers with financing, engineering and installation.
The Manila native graduated in 2014, and that same year Bank of the Philippine Islands gave the company its first $1 million loan, to install a 700-kilowatt solar rooftop power plant at central Mall of Biñan City. Now solar Philippines, with 200 employees, has received $100 million in backing from local banks and in January