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Plug Power illustrates the potential for innovation in business models. The company takes advantage, at a very early stage, of the emergence of hydrogen as an essential emerging vector in the energy transition to a decarbonized society. Green hydrogen is emerging as the fuel and raw material that will make decarbonization viable when, for technological or competitive reasons, electrification isn't possible in end uses (transportation, industry and agriculture). The business model integrates, in a polyhedral way, market segmentation (forklift trucks in closed spaces); service payments (turnkey); concession of grants together with sales contracts, in the cases of Amazon and Walmart; financing on the stock market through an IPO; incentivizing executives through stock options, etc. The case facilitates discussion about policies for increasing stock value and accounting criteria used, as well as the monetization times for stock options and warrants.
Useful in courses on sustainability, energy transition, innovation in business models, ethics, finance and executive compensation.