dena and SET launch the SET Network with Innoloft: Innovations, networks and partnerships for energy system transition


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Market & Trading, Energy Supply

The topic of energy system transformation is more urgent than ever. Due to our digitized way of life, we now consume about ten times as much electricity as our fellow human beings did about fifty years ago. Time is pressing. But how can we succeed in generating and using energy exclusively clean, affordable and safe?

In Germany, about one third of the electricity comes from renewable energies, i.e. wind power, solar energy or biomass. Emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases are being successively reduced and the last three nuclear power plants in Germany are to be shut down by 2022. This is a correct approach, but no panacea.

Innovative energy industry: Start-ups bring new dynamism to the energy transition

To support political approaches and decisions, the energy industry needs a fresh spirit, spontaneity and flexibility. All the better that there are more and more young founders who come up with innovative ideas and solutions. But it is precisely these young founders who need support from investors and experienced companies in order to develop and establish their innovations. Often, this is exactly the point where they fail and good and innovative ideas cannot be pursued further because money and expertise are lacking.

Start Up Energy Transition launches SET Network – with support from Innoloft

This is the focus of the German Energy Agency (dena) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi): The Start Up Energy Transition (SET) Global Innovation Platform is intended to offer energy transition start-ups various forms of support, i.e. through the annual SET Award and SET Tech Festival.

Similarly, the Start Up Transition (SET) is established with an international focus as a global forum and with the conviction that a sustainable future is directly linked to innovative business models and political will. The operating organisation here is dena as well – in cooperation with the World Energy Council.

In order not only to continue this promising approach but also to deepen it, on July 1st, the SET Network with an international approach was launched together with Innoloft. This is a network that is aimed equally at start-ups, established companies and interested investors. Start-ups can network with interested companies, investors can compare attractive investment opportunities and established corporates can promote cooperations with young start-ups. In the end, joint innovative product ideas can be developed and brought to market.

Numerous features offer quick and uncomplicated ways to accelerate the networking of the individual players and thus drive forward innovations for the energy transition: With the help of applications, startups can, for example, communicate directly which resources they need for product development or whether investors are being sought. Meanwhile, companies and corporates use the search for startups in the energy sector to pursue their own use cases, and investors are offered an overview of the latest innovations to find promising projects.

Click here for free registration and further information about the SET Network.

Energy Mavens is the startup of week 4: Understanding the wishes and needs of the customer


Energy & Environment, Energy Market & Trading

When buying a product, a person no longer makes their decision on the basis of the price alone. Many different factors now play a role in the purchasing decision. Among other things, current socio-political developments are responsible for this. But how should one design products that appeal to potential customers? Our start-up of the week, Energy Mavens, has created a solution for this. With their special customer analyses they offer companies support in product development and product design. We spoke to Thomas Schönland, CEO at Energy Mavens, to find out more.

Hello Thomas! We’re very happy that you’re here today. Let’s get right to it: How would you describe Energy Mavens in one sentence?

We analyse the needs of electricity customers to support energy supply companies in the design and development of energy revolution products.

How does such an analysis work? Which framework do you use for this?

Developed in the field of psychology, conjoint analysis has now also established itself as an estimation method in marketing. The method enables the disclosure of the true preferences of respondents by mapping a (fictitious) decision between different products. We use a modern, adaptive methodology that addresses the respondents individually and thus involves them more than in the currently used standard surveys.

The application of our conjoint analysis to innovative products in the energy industry thus supports energy supply companies and municipal utilities in product design and customer clustering. Customer needs can be served in a more targeted manner and the customers themselves can be involved in product development at an early stage. Therefore the customers feel that they are helping to shape the product. Moreover, the survey is much more interesting for them than any conventional marketing survey. More valid results enable a simulated evaluation of product combinations that were not asked for in the questionnaire. For example, a competitor’s product can be compared to one’s own and (expected) market shares can be estimated.

You have already mentioned the advantages of conjoint analysis, but you are not the only ones who use this method. What do you do differently from your competitors?

The energy industry is currently at a tipping point. Energy supply companies and municipal utilities are moving from being pure suppliers to energy partners. Accordingly, a more comprehensive understanding of customers is indispensable. Customers no longer make decisions for or against a supplier or its products based on price alone, but are guided by a variety of parameters. Depending on their preferences, different products may or may not offer the customer a benefit.

In order to understand these preferences and make them available to energy partners, we apply conjoint analyses to energy market-specific questions. From the perspective of a municipal utility, this means: What are the characteristics of an energy system transformation product? How do I price it? Where do I position it and to whom? By asking customers’ opinions early on, we are able to develop a customer-centric design and make energy products more efficient.

As a result, our approach enables the disclosure of willingness to pay, obstacles to switching and target group-specific characteristics. This enables a utility company to design, place and price its products precisely.

I see. What is the pricing model for Energy Mavens?

We offer quantitative consulting. This means that our revenue is calculated from our daily rate and the estimated consultant days per project. The expenditure is determined individually for each project. Among other things, it depends on the data basis with which the survey is started and how large the survey is going to be.

In addition, we offer our support as a partner in various phases of product development. This includes, for example, idea generation, actual testing, validation and the final implementation and market launch. We pursue a cooperative consulting approach, in which we enter into a close exchange and regular feedback loops with our customers.

You have already explained that your customer base is consisting of municipal utilities and energy supply companies. Can you go into more detail about your target markets?

We concentrate on the marketing and product development departments of smaller municipal utilities or regionally operating energy supply companies on the German market. We see the greatest potential for data-based customer analyses in this target group. In addition, for these suppliers with a strong regional focus, a customer-oriented product orientation is extremely important.

Where do you currently stand with the development of Energy Mavens? Are your services already usable?

Yes, our current focus is on the implementation of pilot projects and the associated development of references. We have already been able to demonstrate the proof-of-concept that we can make statements on energy system transformation products using our methodology in two studies. A study on the design of the product “local electricity” was conducted in cooperation with Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH. In a second project, we are analysing the preferences of RE investors in the context of tenders together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). In this context, we are particularly proud that we are a competence spin-off at Fraunhofer ISI since September 1, 2019.

Now we have unfortunately already reached the end of the interview. Thank you Thomas for the interesting conversation! We wish you continued success for the future of Energy Mavens! More informations is to be found on the Innoloft profile and the Innoloft requests.

SOLARIMO is the startup of the week 2: New energy for cities


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Market & Trading, Energy Supply

The consequences of climate change are already very noticable. Fortunately, in Germany we have not yet been affected by natural disasters such as floods or severe forest fires. Nevertheless, we too must transform our behaviour to be more sustainable. Photovoltaics and green electricity are popular solutions to curb the production of CO2. However, the planning and construction of such a system is often complicated and daunting. Our start-up of the week, SOLARIMO takes care of exactly this case. We discussed what this looks like in detail with Sebastian Lammers, project developer at SOLARIMO.

Hi, Sebastian! Thanks for taking time for us today. We are very much looking forward to getting to know SOLARIMO better. So would you give us a little pitch right now about what you do at SOLARIMO?

Sure! SOLARIMO plans, builds and operates photovoltaic systems on rental properties. This generates the so-called tenant electricity with which we give the tenants access to the cheap green electricity from their own roof. In this way we contribute to a sustainable energy supply.

That sounds very exciting! What exactly does the concept behind it look like?

As already mentioned, we build and plan photovoltaic systems on apartment buildings and offer the sustainably generated electricity to the tenants. The building owners benefit from a sustainable and social upgrading of their properties. The entire construction process is carried out and accompanied by us with local installers. This implementation of a tenant electricity project is possible with our model for new and existing properties. We also implement projects with battery storage units and charging points for electric vehicles.

At present, there are many new companies with the idea of installing photovoltaic systems on real estate and thus generating green electricity. What added value do you generate with SOLARIMO that your competitors do not offer?

We offer our customers a complete tenant electricity package. Here we take over the consulting, planning, financing and installation of the system. In addition, we take care of the entire process, including marketing and selling the electricity to the tenants. The tenants receive the complete power supply from us at a price at least 10% below the basic supply tariff. They can thus participate in and benefit from the energy turnaround. By installing photovoltaic systems, building owners contribute to the energy turnaround in urban areas and ensure a local and climate-friendly energy supply.

I see. What does your pricing model look like?

Our business model is simple: we offer tenants a low-cost and ecological electricity tariff and try to produce the majority of the electricity on their own roof. At the same time, our B2B customers gain an advantage by being able to position themselves sustainably. We generate our income from selling electricity to the tenants and from the remuneration for feeding the remaining electricity into the grid.

Until now you have named the B2B sector as one of your customer segments. Do you target your product only at B2B customers? Could you be more specific about your target groups??

Our customer group can be divided into the B2B and B2C market. B2B are the building owners. This would include, for example, cooperatives, housing construction companies as well as project developers and municipalities. Currently we are only active nationally.

Finally, we would like to know in which development phase SOLARIMO is currently in. What are your future goals, especially in 2020?

SOLARIMO has been on the market for 2 years and has already implemented more than 3200 Kwp in energy in over 35 projects. At present, several follow-up orders are already on hold in various cooperatives, so that we look forward to the next fiscal year with confidence and optimism. As we are a corporate start-up of the Engie Group, we are not dependent on external financing next year.

Sebastian, thank you very much for this exciting and detailed interview. We wish you every success for the further development of SOLARIMO. If you would like to support you in this, please take a look at your Innoloft profile.

Olmatic is the Startup of the Week 28: Products and systems for Industry 4.0 and IoT


Energy Market & Trading, Energy Supply, Industry 4.0 & Logistics

Although the addition of “smart” has long been an important aspect in the discussion on energy management systems, concrete implementation approaches are rarely found.  Our Startup of the Week has the same opinion – especially since conventional systems are usually inflexible and platform-bound. One of the co-founders of Olmatic, Christian Olma, therefore introduces us to their solution: The Olmatic Power Tracking.

Hello Christian! Thank you for taking the time. We are looking forward to getting to know Olmatic better. Would you give us a small pitch for that?

Sure! We develop, manufacture and market devices and systems for energy management 4.0 and wireless networking through central control units in the industry 4.0 and IoT area. Our highly innovative Olmatic Power Tracking enables maximum self-sufficiency in the energy sector.

What exactly is the Olmatic Power Tracking about?

The so-called Olmatic Power Tracking (OPT) is an intelligent combination of hardware and software, combined in one product, which deals with the completely self-sufficient supply of electrical consumers via regenerative energy sources without the necessity of a conventional supply network. In order to use the power available from renewable energy sources (solar cells, wind turbines, hydroelectric power plants, etc.) in the most effective way, without losing excess energy in the form of power loss or the like, the OPT offers the appropriate technologies and systems to realize dynamic power distribution and prioritization of energy and consumer sources. This means that with an optimal design it is possible to almost completely dispense with the public supply network and to reduce the energy demand via the conventional supply network to < 1%. Even if the system is used without regenerative energy sources, i.e. directly via the conventional supply network, >30% energy savings can be achieved compared to conventional energy management systems.

The main focus of our energy management system is on the specific treatment of each input source and each consumer output independently of each other. This gives us the possibility to distribute energy to all consumers of a system with the highest efficiency. In combination with a direct integration into the supply line and open interfaces in the communication line, our energy management systems can easily be adapted to or integrated into existing systems. This makes it possible to distribute energy across the boundaries of a specific platform or system.

How does your product perform compared to currently established energy management systems?

In contrast to conventional energy management systems, it is characterized above all by the additional networking of the Smart Grid at the supply level, which enables stepless power regulation (0-100%) and power distribution. Through the specific consideration of all energy consumers and the platform independence of the systems, a highly efficient energy sharing between different energy systems can be operated with maximum efficiency. Conventional systems are platform-bound and can only communicate via the communication interfaces and suffer from higher losses and a lack of dynamics due to static switching on and off based on preconfigured power hysteresis. Especially in safety-relevant systems, the simple shutdown can lead to enormous security gaps or chaos scenarios, which the OPT procedure avoids via intelligent and dynamic power regulation and distribution on the basis of prioritizations. Through customized, individually adaptable designs of the modules, a maximum energy saving can be achieved at low investment costs for the manufacturer/developer, which promise low payback periods. The OPT process is linked to already existing and established energy management modules and central control units of the Olmatic product range and thus realizes the following two core products, which can be used in combination or independently of each other in all AC and DC power-based energy systems, conventional and regenerative generation methods.

You were just talking about customizing your products to suit your customer’s needs. The pricing will certainly be the same, right?

We follow the implementation of two different business models. On the one hand, we sell via direct sales in the B2B area through appropriate acquisition of our sales team and in the course of networking measures, and on the other hand, we have a large cooperation partner named Endrich Bauelemente Vertriebs GmbH, which acts as a middleman for us and actively sells our product range internationally. Since we always offer customer-specific products, the pricing model is variable and calculated according to complexity and effort. As an additional service in the field of Energy Management 4.0 we offer the complete energy consulting as an additional service.

What do you think about the market you are currently addressing? To what extent do you see growth potential, opportunities and risks there?

Placing a product such as Olmatic Power Tracking at the right time in a market that is currently more than ever in the focus of current attention undoubtedly brings with it a huge opportunity to establish the company as a pioneer in a market that will continue to grow steadily in the future. Since the market for electrical consumers will tend to rise in the coming years, while conventional energy resources will tend to decline, it is to be expected that the market in the segment of renewable energy supply will bring secure growth in the coming decades. Timely market entry and the protection of the product against competitors therefore represent a huge opportunity for us to already now sustainably position ourselves for the coming decades. Nevertheless, the market is highly competitive and is already populated by a large number of “big players” who will gladly and directly accept the competition and already have the financial background to become active here in the short term. The big chance is thus at the same time a big risk to lose the competition and thus the market shares already at the beginning, if the strategy and the goals are not pursued with fullest precision. We pursue the international target group.

You founded your company in 2016, a lot has happened since then. You have already explained some of the results to us. What are the next steps for the development of Olmatic?

An essential milestone of the strategy is the transfer of the already existing prototypes to market maturity. The goal should be to be able to place these on the market as quickly as possible. A proof-of-concept of the prototypes has already been successfully carried out, so that the next step according to the strategy is to carry out corresponding final development steps to series maturity. These essentially include a final optimisation of the findings from the prototype tests, adaptation of conformity to the applicable standards and norms, planning and implementation of necessary production processes and final approval of the products. In the course of the prototype phase a new energy management module was developed, which contains the OPT procedure. In the course of this two new products are to be developed at short notice, which can be directly transferred to already existing customer networks and distribution channels. The energy supply module is to be the first product of the new Universal 4.0 series and in its current version serves as an energy supply module for intelligent supply and energy management in accordance with OPT for consumers in the low-voltage range. The OPT’s software functionality can be directly marketed as a successor model to the existing OPT plus the additional OPT function and will serve as a central gateway and control unit for the digital networking of the system in the future.

Christian, thank you very much for this exciting and detailed interview. We wish you much success for the further development of Olmatic. Those who are interested in supporting Olmatic are welcome to take a look at your EnergieLOFT Request in which you are looking for investors for the Olmatic Power Tracking.

Eturnity is the Startup of the Week 25: Efficient advice on renewable energies


Energy & Environment, Energy Market & Trading

The almost omnipresent topic of “renewable energies” raises many questions, especially among consumers. For example, if you want to buy a PV system, you first have to fight your way through a jungle of information, technologies and suppliers – and often without tangible results. Our startup of the week, Eturnity, is therefore developing software that covers the entire renewable energy consulting process. In our interview, CEO Matthias Wiget explains exactly how this works.

Hello Matthias! Thank you so much for taking the time for us today. We start directly with the first question, which you are welcome to answer briefly. What is Eturnity?

The software solution for efficient and customer-oriented consulting on renewable energy systems for energy suppliers, wholesalers and PV and heating installers.

Such a consulting process certainly includes numerous intermediate steps from the initial consultation to the (purchase) conclusion. Are they all covered by your software?

Exactly. Our solutions integrate the entire process from customer acquisition and initial consultation to the simulation and design of systems and the preparation of quotations on a single platform. The simulation of solar systems and heating systems is based on a sophisticated simulation in 15-minute resolution. Individual consumption profiles, local climate data and yield profiles as well as varying feed-in and consumption tariffs are taken into account. Our customers can carry out simulations and consultations based on their prices and the most frequently used components. Once the required components have been put together, a ready-to-ship PDF can be created at the touch of a button. The PDF for the end customer contains all important information about the new system, the environmental impact and the further procedure. Of course the PDF offers come in the individual design of our customers.

That sounds very exciting! Nevertheless, consulting activities, especially for complex products, are often still characterized by personal interaction. What added value do you offer the end customer that may not be available in this classic model?

With our products, our customers can reduce the time required for the processes from customer acquisition to the final offer by 50 – 80 %. This naturally leads to massive cost savings. In addition, the probability that a potential end customer will accept an offer also increases. With our consulting tools and the appealingly prepared information, end customers feel that they are being advised very professionally. Thanks to the online presence with the individually branded solar calculator and heating calculator, our customers also ensure that potential end customers can obtain information about a potential new heating system or solar system around the clock and also at weekends.

How is the business model for your software formed?

Our products can be used in a license model with annual license fees. Decisive for the price is the number of projects, for which a customer carries out annual consultations. In addition to our core products, we also make individual adjustments for our customers.

And in which markets do you currently operate?

We are originally from Switzerland. We are pleased that we can already count many installers and energy suppliers among our valued customers in Switzerland. Since last year, our products are also available in Germany and Scandinavia.

We took a look at your website, and found a list of references that is quite impressive. So you are no longer completely new to the business. Where do you currently stand with the developement of Eturnity and what are your plans for the near future?

We are currently in the growth phase and are happy to be able to convince new customers of our products every day. This year we are especially happy to expand our products in the heating sector. With our platform it is already possible to sell solar systems, battery storage, charging stations, energy management systems and heating systems. In the future, we would like to continuously expand and integrate this range and thus make a contribution to the sustainable development of the building infrastructure.

Matthias, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We wish you continued success for the development of your company. If you would like to support Eturnity as a sales partner, for example, you are welcome to take a look at their Energieloft Request.