This week a South African blockchain startup called Sun Exchange raised $1.6 million in seed funding to launch a solar power crowdsale platform. It is hardly unique, though.
Recent weeks have seen new blockchain-based energy hopefuls cropping up like mushrooms after the rain. Here are 15 of the top names making headlines.
Conjoule offers a blockchain platform designed to support peer-to-peer trading of energy among rooftop PV owners and interested public-sector or corporate buyers. The company was hatched in Innogy’s Innovation Hub in 2015 and pulled in $5.3 million in funding from Tokyo Electric Power Company and others in July. Conjoule has been running a pilot in Germany for the past year.
Seattle-based Drift is leveraging distributed ledger technology, machine learning and high-frequency trading to create a differentiated competitive retail energy provider. It raised $2.1 million in May and is currently operating in New York City.
Greeneum revealed this month it is running test nets and pilots for its peer-to-peer energy trading platform “in Europe, Cyprus, Israel, Africa and the U.S.” It expects to have a viable product platform out by mid-2018.
UPDATE: GTM originally reported that Greeneum is being developed by the same team as SolarCoin, which is incorrect. On October 25, the SolarCoin Foundation issued a statement clarifying that Greeneum is a stand-alone project and that none of SolarCoin's founders "has a role or formal knowledge of the project specifics." Previous statements suggested otherwise.
In one of the most hotly hyped launches in the energy blockchain world, Grid+ last month raised $29 million through its token pre-sale, which will fund the development and launch of its blockchain-based competitive retail provider in Texas. The hype was partly a result of Grid+’s origins: It was created by top New York blockchain shop ConsenSys.
UPDATE: Initial reports show that Grid+ raised $40 million through its token pre-sale. However, the firm said it actually raised $29 million from the pre-sale, which amounts to 36,422,909 GRID tokens. GTM has updated this story to reflect the correct dollar amount.
Grid+ acknowledged it made some errors in its pre-sale calculations, but they had no bearing on the total dollar amount raised. With the pre-sale complete, that leaves 53,577,091 GRID tokens for sale in Grid+'s public token sale taking place October 30.
Grid Singularity is an Austrian startup developing a blockchain purpose-built for the energy industry, backed by a team of experienced energy market professionals and leading blockchain and smart contract developers, according to its website (see also: Energy Web Foundation).
U.K. startup Electron began with a blockchain-based solution to help customers in the U.K. switch energy suppliers, but has since been communicating a vision of leveraging its platform to support broader energy trading and grid-balancing solutions. Last month, with help from Siemens and National Grid, it won U.K. government support to scale up its platform.
Energy Web Foundation
Established in February by Grid Singularity and the Rocky Mountain Institute, Energy Web Foundation is not so much a startup as an alliance body aimed at introducing an open-source blockchain designed for the electricity market, identifying use cases and helping build an ecosystem of participants. Big-name energy firms pumped $2.5 million into the foundation in May.
While most energy-based blockchain players offer a token for trading, Manhattan Beach, California-based ImpactPPA has two: one to fund projects and one to consume energy. The company is targeting the estimated 16 percent of the world population that lacks a reliable source of energy.
As well as backing Electron in the U.K., Siemens last year announced a tie-up with New York peer-to-peer blockchain developer LO3 Energy. The promising startup this month pulled in an unspecified amount of funding from Braemar Energy Ventures and Centrica Innovations.
MyBit is designed to help crowdfund solar panels by distributing the ownership of each system across several owners. The company raised the equivalent of around $2.7 million in a token sale in August.
Australia’s star energy blockchain player, Power Ledger, had pulled in more than $24 million from around 15,000 supporters by the time it completed a token generation event earlier this month. The company is rolling out pilot projects for its blockchain platform, built to support a broad range of energy market applications, in Australia and New Zealand.
SolarCoin was launched in 2014 as a rewards program for solar electricity generation, with one of its coins equaling a megawatt-hour of production. The scheme is set to reward 97,500 terawatt-hours of generation over 40 years, but for now its value remains low.
Sun Exchange’s motto is “solar-powered money.” Founded by U.K. utility-scale solar pioneer Abraham Cambridge, the company aims to let supporters around the world crowdfund PV down to the level of an individual solar cell and lease them to schools and businesses in Africa. The company's marketplace is focused on funding and building new generation systems, rather than trading power. Sun Exchange has been operational for several years and has successfully funded four solar projects. The company recently raised $1.6 million in seed funding, which will go towards expanding its business and global capabilities.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article stated that Sun Exchange is a "peer-to-peer solar energy trading platform." This entry was updated to clarify that Sun Exchange does not trade power, and is focused instead on funding new solar projects.
Veridium is a financial technology firm aiming to create a new asset class called “EcoSmart Commodities.” “Veridium will provide a new vehicle for corporations to embed environmental replacements into the cost of their products,” co-founder Todd Lemons told GTM.
WePower is developing an Ethereum-based platform to fund renewable energy projects through the sale and trading of the “tokenized” energy produced by those systems. The company is looking to raise $30 million from an ICO next month.
GTM will host an entire panel session on Blockchain at the first annual U.S. Power & Renewables Conference in November. You'll get an in-depth look at how the renewable energy market will interact with the U.S. power market, and how those interactions can impact overall industry development and market growth. Curated by GTM Research, MAKE, and Wood Mackenzie energy analysts, we’ll take an expansive view of key issues and timely topics, bringing together a diverse group of energy experts and stakeholders to discuss demand dynamics, economics and business model shifts, and policy and regulatory implications.