Stoyan Energia Solar won WEConnect International’s 2022 Rise to the Challenge Global Award and Sustainable Business & Energy sector award, presented by Unilever.
Catia Stoyan has a dream: Supply the cleanest energy to as many people in the world as possible.
In pursuing it, she has spent the past 25 years of her life as a pioneer of solar energy in Brazil, helping to transform the industry so that communities can have power that doesn’t harm the environment like traditional energy sources.
After first working in the renewable energy sector for large multinational corporations such as Siemens and Shell, Catia left the security of a career with a big corporation because they had halted their renewable energy program. She saw a need to fill and decided to found her own company. In 2009, Stoyan Energia Solar was born.
Over the past 13 years, Catia has built a successful women-owned company that started out with two employees and now has 23. In 2019, Catia joined WEConnect International as a certified woman-owned business. She knew that if she wanted to accelerate the growth of her business, she had a lot to learn.
“As a small business, I did not know how to sell my solutions to large buyers,” says Catia. “I participated in several of the WEConnect International roundtables with large buyers, and I learned how to present my product in a way that met their needs and answered their questions. I am confident that one of the reasons I landed a contract with a large multinational company last year was because I incorporated what I learned from WEConnect International Academy.”
Today, the São Paulo-based company provides the products and services required for solar energy: project design, approval from the utility company, equipment supply and technology installation. The company has grown at an annual rate of 25% for the past two years, and she has set a growth target of 25% this year and every year for the next five.
What sets Stoyan Energia’s offerings apart from its competitors is its use of high-performance photovoltaic technology. While traditional solar panels take 25 years to generate 80% energy, the photovoltaic panels used exclusivity by Catia’s team in Brazil take 25 years to generate 92% energy and, therefore, have the longest factory warranty in the market with 25 years against manufacturing defects and regarding efficiency.
Catia exudes excitement when she describes how vital her work is to both people and the planet—and she emphasizes that she is only one piece of a very important solution to climate issues.
“Photovoltaic energy provides partial solutions to Brazil’s economic and socio-environmental problems while using a major resource: the sun,” explains Catia. “We are committed to expanding this market in Brazil, across Latin America and into the United States. But to be successful, the entire industry must work together, adopting and defending the banner of clean, renewable energy sources. Our future depends on it.”
As a leading provider in Brazil, Stoyan’s technology is considered among the best in the world, converting up to 10% more sunlight into energy than the average panels on the market. It is also much cleaner than the alternative hybrid solutions–therefore better for the planet.
Catia believes that renewable energy solutions must be provided to all people equally. And she backs up her words with actions, building sustainability into her business model by also providing clean energy to the remote and disadvantaged parts of Brazil.
In 2015, Stoyan Energia partnered with a government program to provide power to families in Pará, one of the most remote regions in the country. Without access to transmission lines, Stoyan’s team got creative. They used batteries to supply electricity to more than 75 riverside families, enabling them to do business, increase their incomes and provide opportunities to hundreds of lives.
Catia notes that she works in a very masculine environment, oftentimes being the only woman in a meeting. “I don’t know if I have lost business because I’m a woman, but I do know that I have lost lots of business,” laughs Catia. “And that is another reason WEConnect International is so important to me and so many women business owners: We can learn from and help other women.”
In 2022, a regulatory framework was approved for Brazil, which should lead to more business across the country. But Catia has her sights set beyond Brazil. Her first international project was with a telecommunications company in Chile, and she expects more soon. She intends to expand across Latin America and into the U.S.
“I am committed to sustainability and am confident that we can make an even greater impact on the communities and industries we serve,” Catia reflects. “My commitment is inspired by the purpose of our company: to bring clean and renewable energy to the four corners of the world.”