Startup Taps into Australia’s Solar + Storage

An energy management “internet of energy” start-up is making plans to open for business in Australia, and is estimated to attract $3m of investment capital from the Australia’s own Southern Cross Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund, backed by ARENA and Softbank China Venture Capital.

Since its inception in 2010, the San Francisco-based company Geli – or Growing Energy Labs Inc. has been developing “hardware agnostic” software and business solutions used to design, connect and operate microgrid and energy storage systems.

Australia, which is already a key growth market targeted by the now promising global battery storage industry, is without doubt an obvious choice destination for Geli.

As noted recently by the acting ARENA CEO Ian Kay, the rising roll-out of battery storage technology in Australia obviously means that more efficient software tools will become important if consumers have to get the most out of their new and existing clean technologies. So far, Geli’s proven track record guarantees great results.

Apparently, the company has already supplied on-site cloud-based software and control hardware to manage microgrid and EV-solar-battery integration projects in New York and California, and has also integrated with various battery and inverter systems.

The company is now looking at the possibility of aggregating energy devices on a large scale, so as to move beyond batteries and incorporate an array of distributed energy sources.

As a software provider, Geli will start working on a government-funded Texas microgrid project, planned for expansion in a bid to include batteries, controllable HVAC systems, electric vehicles, and binary-switched devices such as water heaters and LED lighting controls.  

In April this year, the startup raised $7 million in a funding campaign, which the company says would be utilized majorly to attract more vendors as partners, establish energy analytics and aggregation capabilities, as well as scale to keep up pace with the increasing market demand.

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In Australia, Kay from ARENA says that Geli’s solution will give Australian consumers more value for their investment in solar and battery storage systems, and could just be the thing to inspire more businesses to invest in the sustainable 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 United States, this has been Geli’s main market: “Clearly, the need in the (commercial and industrial) space is demand-charge management — that’s a big opportunity for us,” Dan Loflin, a newly appointed CEO, said in a recent statement.

“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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