Business case for advanced energy storage continues to build

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Californian “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 (REVC) Fund, supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Softbank China Venture Capital.

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. Geli’s platform enables industry stakeholders to quickly determine the optimal solar-plus-storage solution for many different uses and will automate systems in the field with the same algorithms used in the design process.

Adding energy storage managed by Geli software to a solar PV system provides the ability to store and dispatch energy when it is needed, such as at night or during periods of peak customer demand.

Traditionally, solar markets in Australia and Hawaii have grid compensation (or feed in tariff) policies, making them obvious regions for Geli to push its platform.

Southern Cross REVC managing director John Scull said the market pull for software solutions is growing rapidly.

“By virtue of being a pure-play software company, Geli is able to work with many of the most well-known names in the industry, enabling them to deliver solutions tailored to their clients’ needs,” he said

Acting ARENA CEO Ian Kay said the increasing roll-out of battery storage in Australia means 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 is promising.

“There’s an abundance of unused space on office, warehouse and factory rooftops around Australia where new solar panels could be installed,” he said.

“Many companies have also already invested in solar, and would benefit from adding storage. Geli’s solution will give customers more value from their solar and storage systems, and could present a compelling case for more Australian businesses to invest in renewable energy.”

One of Geli’s core differentiators is its ability to easily integrate new hardware and energy applications onto the Geli platform.

Geli CEO Dan Loflin said the company’s partners have recognised the ability to boost thin PV project returns by integrating storage and other energy assets.

“This investment by Southern Cross REVC enables us to rapidly expand the breadth of integration partnerships with both hardware and software players,” he said.

“In markets such as Australia, where both customers and energy service providers are forward leaning, the demand for Geli to integrate across many heterogeneous assets and deliver market-specific energy services has created the need for local support,” Geli co-founder Dr Ryan Wartena added.