"Internet of energy" start-up taps booming Australian solar + storage market

“Internet of energy” start-up taps booming Australian solar + storage market

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US energy management start-up Geli to establish regional hub in Australia, backed by $3m investment from Southern Cross Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund.

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California-based “internet of energy” start-up Geli is set to establish a regional hub in Australia, backed by a $3 million investment from Australia’s Southern Cross Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund, with the support of ARENA and Softbank China Venture Capital.

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Founded in San Francisco in 2010, Geli – or Growing Energy Labs Inc – develops “hardware agnostic” software and business solutions to design, connect, and operate energy storage and microgrid systems.

This makes Australia, already targeted by the global battery storage industry as a key growth market, an obvious destination for Geli.

As acting ARENA CEO Ian Kay noted on Tuesday, the increasing roll-out of battery storage in Australia means that effective software tools that become increasingly important, to get the most out of new and existing clean technologies – and so far, Geli’s track record on this is promising.

The company has already supplied its on-site control hardware and cloud-based software to manage microgrid and EV-solar-battery integration projects in California and New York, and has integrated with a variety of battery and inverter systems.

According to GreenTech Media, it is now seeking to aggregate energy devices at a larger scale and move beyond batteries to incorporate a variety of distributed energy resources.

Geli’s first such effort at this will be as software provider for a government-funded Texas microgrid project, which aims to grow to include batteries, electric vehicles, controllable HVAC systems, and binary-switched devices like water heaters and LED lighting controls.

In April, the company raised $7 million in a funding round, which it said would be used to bring on more hardware vendors as partners, build its energy analytics and aggregation capabilities, and scale to keep pace with market demand.

In Australia, ARENA’s Kay says Geli’s solution will give customers more value from solar and battery storage systems, and could even work to encourage more businesses to invest in renewable energy technologies.

“There is an abundance of unused space on office, warehouse and factory rooftops around Australia where new solar panels could be installed,” Kay said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Many companies have also already invested in solar, and would benefit from adding storage.”

In the US, this has so far been Geli’s key market: “Clearly, the need in the (commercial and industrial) space is demand-charge management — that’s a big opportunity for us,” newly appointed CEO, Dan Loflin said recently.

“You get into the iterated requirements of doing time-of-use shifting and self-consumption,” Loflin said. “It’s important for the software that manages these projects to take different market rules into account, such as Hawaii’s new zero-net export rules.”

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