The startup ecosystem in solar is still strong.
At GTM Events, we're now including sessions where young companies tell their stories in front of the audience. It's a great way to bring fresh perspectives to the industry.
At the Solar Software Summit next week, we’ll hear from five companies about the problems they're trying to solve in solar in a session led by industry all-star Emily Kirsch, CEO of Powerhouse. Check out their stories below.
After months of working closely with customers, co-founders Nikhil and Eddie realized that solar owner-operators and operations and management (O&M) teams were using drones with infrared (thermal) and high-resolution color cameras to reduce the time required to perform inspections. However, these teams were capturing hundreds to thousands of photos of PV assets, and had shifted the burden to labor-intensive manual review to identify, classify and localize PV system defects.
To speed up and simplify this process, Raptor Maps engineered an automated AI software solution specific to the solar industry. Their software solution uses machine learning to automate the analysis of PV system drone imagery, and is used to create consistent, actionable and prioritized reports to manage and track asset health.
Pick My Solar
The Pick My Solar team built the residential solar and storage industry's first managed marketplace, after realizing the sales experience for homeowners was broken. With Pick My Solar, consumers get expert guidance from energy advisers whose only interest is in getting the homeowner the best deal for their situation.
In the fall of 2017, Pick My Solar launched as the official solar marketplace of Con Edison New York. Con Edison customers now have the expert assistance of Pick My Solar energy advisers to navigate the complex solar-buying process, while Con Edison maintains its status as the customer's trusted energy adviser.
Anderson Optimization was created to provide state-of-the-art modeling software to the energy industry. Its first product, AOProspect, automates early-stage siting for renewable energy development. Many developers use expensive and time-consuming manual data aggregation processes and/or rely heavily on external consultants. Due to these challenges, Anderson Optimization built AOProspect so that users can filter potential sites based upon a wide variety of data and relevant development criteria in order to generate a short list of high-quality land parcels in a rapid timeframe. The whole process can take just minutes instead of days or weeks, and can be completed at a considerably lower cost than current practices.
Moving forward, Anderson Optimization will expand its platform to incorporate novel optimization modeling capabilities, which will broaden the scope from simply renewable siting to utility planning, storage valuation, power flow analysis and more.
Correlate is a virtual energy manager for businesses. The platform creates, deploys and manages low-cost custom strategic energy programs that reduce risk and increase energy savings. Commercial building owners and occupants often do not have the tools, staff, knowledge and time to take action on their energy use. By matching artificial intelligence with on-demand energy expertise, Correlate can provide a unique virtual energy manager service through a performance-based model at a fraction of the cost of incumbent options.
Similar to outsourcing IT, HR and legal services, the company is creating "energy-management-as-a-service." Energy product and service companies are also seeing the value of the platform and using it to offer greater value to their customers and speed up their acquisition process.
One barrier to commercial solar projects trumps all other development hurdles: money. “Every C&I developer has a story about the one that got away,” said Jeff McAulay, co-founder at Energetic Insurance. “A project that should have been really good, [but] they couldn’t get the deal because financing fell apart.”
Energetic Insurance, a SunShot-funded startup founded in 2017, comes at the investment problem from a different angle. This year the firm plans to launch its first product: a credit wrap insurance policy called EneRate that allows unrated offtakers to transfer credit risk to the insurer. “Ultimately, we think this is a mispricing of risk — that the market isn’t really moving just because it’s a young market, not because it’s a bad risk,” said McAulay. So far the company is actively working on underwriting deals, but has yet to announce one.
Hear these companies share their stories and explain their new technologies at Solar Software Summit next week in San Diego! And if you're a startup looking to connect with investors, utilities or other companies in the space, come attend the event.