With a disarming smile, 36-year-old Ko Chuan Zhen reveals that the first solar panel he got his hands on was in university for his final year project using solar energy to cool the temperature of a car’s interior. It was 13 years ago – the era of Yahoo, Ko says, when credible online resources about solar power were still scarce.
“At the time, renewable energy was still very new as a concept and information about it was quite difficult to come by,” Ko shares. “I had one textbook on solar technology and had difficulty finding solar panels for my final year project. Luckily, a lecturer of mine loaned me a solar panel and gave me some practical know-how on how to work with it.”
The experience taught him that there was much to learn about this fascinating energy source; from that point onwards, he was determined to be part of the global clean energy trend.
Ko went on to pursue an internship in Taiwan, where he learnt that investors and financiers around the world were fast shifting their focus from traditional energy to green energy for its sustainability and cost-saving benefits.
While on a flight back to Kuala Lumpur from Taiwan, Ko recalls looking out of his window down on Sepang and seeing endless rows of empty roofs.
“I remember telling myself that one day, I would fill those empty roofs with solar panels," he shares.
Later, he worked at German and Japanese renewable energy firms, familiarising himself with the technology as well as with the business and operational aspects of this industry.