Chuan Zhen Ko's passion for clean energy and climate change was first ignited by his university lecturers and watching the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," starring former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore.

Ko, a 39-year-old from Malaysia, launched himself into a career in the renewables industry about 15 years ago, working on green projects in a dozen countries before returning home to the capital Kuala Lumpur.

There he teamed up with two friends from school in 2012 to co-found Plus Xnergy, a company that helps homes, businesses and buildings to develop their own solar power systems or source clean energy supplies from elsewhere.