Station A, a spinout of NRG Vitality, has constructed a enterprise accumulating large quantities of information on about 10 million industrial and industrial buildings throughout the U.S., and utilizing it to evaluate their viability for photo voltaic PV, batteries and different distributed power investments.
On Wednesday, Station A introduced it has raised $three million in enterprise capital to develop its platform for connecting constructing house owners with clear power builders. The purpose, CEO Kevin Berkemeyer says, is to change into “the world’s first AI-powered clear power market.”
Wednesday’s spherical was led by Renewal Funds and joined by Powerhouse Ventures; utility group Southern Firm; and SE Ventures, the enterprise arm of Schneider Electrical. The brand new funding will be used to triple the scale of Station A’s group from its present 5 workers to 15.
Station A’s software program, initially constructed to inform NRG’s distributed power work for Southern California Edison, has expanded to incorporate modeling and simulating the alternatives for “photo voltaic, storage, photo voltaic plus storage, and different distributed power assets, in principally the entire buildings over 10,000 sq. toes in the USA” and Ontario, Berkemeyer mentioned.
Since its 2018 spinout from NRG, the San Francisco-based firm has made its platform obtainable to about 1,300 customers. These embrace challenge builders, utilities, capital suppliers, power providers firms and hardware producers — in addition to traders Schneider Electrical and Southern Firm, which each have wide-ranging distributed power companies.
“That is clearly aligned with what Schneider is attempting to construct” via its microgrid and power providers companies, Grant Allen, common associate at SE Ventures, mentioned. “We have now two totally different teams inside Schneider already utilizing it and paying for it.”
Station A’s providing symbolize a first-of-its-kind instrument for the notoriously difficult and time-consuming C&I photo voltaic growth course of, mentioned Michelle Davis, senior photo voltaic analyst for Wooden Mackenzie. “The section is inherently numerous and non-standardized,” Davis mentioned.
Whereas some publicly obtainable knowledge units do exist, and instruments just like the Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator are freely obtainable, they “solely start to scratch the floor of what Station A can present.”
Different firms similar to LevelTen Vitality are engaged on connecting company consumers with alternatives to put money into clear power via renewable power credit or digital energy buy agreements. However that’s totally different from the building-by-building challenge growth specifics that Station A gives, Davis mentioned.
From in-house developer instruments to distributed power market
In that mild, Station A’s foremost competitors is large-scale builders’ in-house platforms for figuring out and analyzing alternatives throughout the nation, mentioned Emily Kirsch, founder and CEO of Powerhouse and a Station A board member.
Most large-scale builders use “about 10 totally different software program instruments to finish a challenge,” with fragmented knowledge units for such key components as constructing power traits, utility charges and incentives, and financing buildings, Kirsch mentioned.
What’s extra, “practically each challenge is deliberate and transacted individually. Which means there’s all this inhibited exercise — there’s no transparency,” Kirsch mentioned. Station A, against this, opens this knowledge to a number of events prepared to pay a month-to-month or annual subscription price for entry, or to pay a proportion of each transaction enacted on the platform.
Opening the huge, largely untapped C&I photo voltaic market
There’s a doubtlessly large market on the market: Station A’s platform has recognized about 176 gigawatts of economically viable C&I photo voltaic initiatives within the nation, Berkemeyer mentioned.
Within the second quarter of 2020, Station A processed quotes for about 89 megawatts of photo voltaic, 12 megawatts of photo voltaic and battery, and about 5 megawatts of standalone battery initiatives throughout 111 challenge areas, representing about $140 million of capital funding, Berkemeyer mentioned.
On the similar time, “we keep this focus of being tech-agnostic — which clear power resolution is finest for my constructing, moderately than how a lot photo voltaic I should purchase,” he mentioned. That method has helped draw prospects representing property house owners or managers looking for out cost-effective clear power funding choices, in addition to builders searching for them.
“We’ve seen this chance to attach the dots between these initiatives we’ve recognized, the consumers on our platform, and the suppliers that may give then the most effective resolution to resolve their distinctive issues,” Berkemeyer mentioned.
By the use of instance, of the roughly three.6 gigawatts of potential initiatives that Station A customers have explored on its platform, about 400 megawatts have been examined by each property house owners and builders, with about 10 megawatts rising to the extent of “high-interest areas with an engaged purchaser.”
That’s the dynamic behind Station A’s ambitions to change into a clear power market. “We see it as a pure evolution of what we’re already doing,” Berkemeyer mentioned.
“Everybody desires initiatives. We will help suppliers discover higher initiatives, and assist the consumers extra effectively and transparently perceive their choices.”