Norwegian startup, Glint Solar, has constructed a SaaS platform to assist builders determine sturdy contenders for ground-based (or floating) photo voltaic initiatives with the purpose of supporting a fast-growing trade to spin up a robust pipeline of initiatives as a requirement to speed up the shift to renewable vitality continues.
Co-founder and COO, Even Kvelland, tells us its method attracts on satellite tv for pc imagery, authorities (and different) datasets, in addition to making use of machine studying and different algorithms, to supply clients with assessments of the dangers and prices of potential photo voltaic installations.
Its software program as a service platform can be utilized to mannequin prices and dangers for ground-based photo voltaic installations however can also be in a position to assess undertaking viability for a rising area of interest of floating photo voltaic parks, reminiscent of photo voltaic installations sited in dams and reservoirs.
Since launch, again in March 2020, Kvelland says Glint Photo voltaic has onboarded 14 clients in markets around the globe, together with Northern Europe, Asia and North and South America, with a spread of huge and small builders tapping in to its one-stop store for assessing doable photo voltaic initiatives — title checking the likes of Scatec, Fortum and TotalEnergies ++ as amongst its first wave of signups.
“What we’ve spent the final two years doing since we began the corporate is to grasp what are the primary obstacles [to solar energy projects]. And it’s grow to be fairly clear that the largest headache for the core buyer, photo voltaic builders — these firms truly constructing the parks — is that they’re struggling to construct their undertaking pipelines, so getting sufficient initiatives [lined up],” he tells TechCrunch. “What we’re doing is we’re going into the early phases — serving to them each determine and analyze potential undertaking areas.”
The platform permits clients to look by “tens of 1000’s” of doable undertaking areas, per Kvelland — whittling their choices all the way down to “superb” prospects, based mostly on its potential to carry out price evaluation and spot points which might in any other case create main issues (and even derail a undertaking) down the road.
“We run or enable our clients to run preliminary technical and monetary evaluation after which spend the time on these initiatives the place you may optimize the possibilities for achievement,” is how he sums up the core perform.
Lowering time to construct a photo voltaic set up is one touted profit however the utility of the instrument is broader, per Kvelland, who says it might — for instance — assist a buyer discover and notice the worth of an (in any other case) neglected website.
The SaaS platform is ready to analyze elements reminiscent of out there photo voltaic radiation and proximity to key infrastructure, reminiscent of capability within the grid for connecting to initiatives — which Kvelland notes is a “large Capex driver”.
It additionally considers social and environmental laws, in addition to taking a look at different bodily elements — like shading on a website; excessive climate; or the elevation or slope of the land, amongst others — to feed its modelling.
For floating photo voltaic, it’s in a position to help undertaking scoping by analyzing underwater options — such because the depth of the water and whether or not there’s a rocky or easy backside — which may influence undertaking capex and opex prices (since floating photo voltaic rigs usually must be anchored so the deeper the physique of water the extra expensive that could be, for instance).
“Right here we’ve been making an attempt to detect each the forms of pure vs artifical our bodies of water utilizing machine studying and likewise the bathymetry — so principally the underwater topography utilizing a variety of satellite tv for pc imageries and taking a look at how a lot mild is penetrating by the water after which mirrored again,” he explains. “It’s complicated — there are a number of folks if any on the earth who’ve efficiently actually constructed a superb mannequin in order that’s a part of the issue we’re engaged on.”
Glint Photo voltaic’s final purpose is to assist clients discover extra invaluable websites for photo voltaic installations at a time when competitors for such websites is on the rise as demand for renewables retains stepping up.
“In opposition to the backdrop of, already, the vitality transition [away from fossil fuels] but additionally — particularly in Europe now with Ukraine and Germany and different nations doubling down on renewables — we’re seeing they actually now have to get began a lot faster and having extra initiatives by the funnel to appreciate the perfect ones,” says Kvelland.
“On the macro aspect, we’re seeing photo voltaic would possibly improve one thing like 24%-25% year-on-year till 2030 so I believe we’re positively in a booming market and we’re capturing — presently — worth on the very starting after which… I believe there’s a complete host of further values we will supply [our customers] both later within the worth chain or in different verticals down the street, with wind or battery storage. So it’s a big market that we’re aiming for,” he provides.
Demonstrating the worth of its product is more likely to take time — because it’s nonetheless early days for Glint Photo voltaic’s clients to progress the photo voltaic initiatives they’ve used the instrument to scope and prioritize. However Kvelland notes that “a number of” have taken the insights they gleaned from utilizing the software program to the “subsequent stage” — which he says means they’re both within the negotiation course of with the landowner/water proprietor or are doing extra detailed engineering work or are within the final phases of undertaking finance.
“We anticipate that hopefully later this yr we’ll see a number of the first initiatives coming on-line,” he provides.
Glint Photo voltaic is asserting a $3 million seed funding elevate which it says will likely be used to scale the enterprise — with a plan to increase into new nations but additionally develop its buyer base in key markets in Europe and the U.S. Therefore it’s planning to double the scale of its group over the following yr because it gears as much as capitalize on the scramble to construct out photo voltaic vegetation.
Traders within the seed spherical embody sustainability targeted Momentum, early stage Norwegian fund, Wiski Capital and cleantech and vitality investor Statkraft Ventures, in addition to some present shareholders.
Commenting in a press release, Hilde Støle Pettersen, managing companion at Momentum, stated: “We’ve adopted the Glint group for the reason that firm’s inception and all the time favored their thought of accelerating the photo voltaic revolution by invaluable perception. With their early business traction and the unbelievable group they’re constructing, we now discovered the timing to be proper. We stay up for supporting the group within the years to come back in collaboration with very sturdy co-investors.”
The startup beforehand went by the Antler accelerator in Oslo — taking in some pre-seed funding by way of that program.
Kvelland additionally recounts the way it bought an early ‘chilly name’ from a U.S.-based personal fairness fund, by way of LinkedIn, which was keen to speculate (unusually so, given how early stage the enterprise — nevertheless it’s presumably projecting main progress in photo voltaic). So, in all, he says it had raised ~$700,000 in exterior funding previous to the seed spherical, not together with funds put it by the founders as they bootstrapped to get the SaaS enterprise off the bottom.
The enterprise mannequin it’s utilizing is a simple, company-wide, annual per market licensing mannequin at this stage, per Kvelland.
On the competitors entrance, he says Glint Photo voltaic’s give attention to the early section of photo voltaic initiatives provides it an edge — arguing there’s comparatively little consideration at that finish of the photo voltaic worth chain.
However he’s in a position to level to some U.S.-based opponents — naming the likes of veteran knowledge administration software program agency, TerraBase; and GeoCF, a software program platform which he says was acquired by a photo voltaic developer looking for to make use of the capabilities in-house, as providing comparable providers.
Different competitors comes from extra generalist tech instruments and/or consultancy companies, he suggests.
“Usually at this time it’s quite a lot of rudimentary instruments. From folks actually taking a look at Google Maps making an attempt to guess what’s probably a superb undertaking space to working with legacy consulting engineering companies getting inbound from farmers. So what we’re making an attempt to do is lastly give the builders a pro-active instrument that enables them to a lot sooner display a really excessive variety of websites in opposition to a variety of completely different variables after which take the data that usually at this time may need been one thing you assess later within the undertaking stage — [and] convey that into the early evaluation.
“As a result of what we preserve listening to from the photo voltaic builders is that they oftentimes uncover one thing later that perhaps — worse case — breaks the undertaking in order that they have to start out from scratch so we need to give them as a lot related perception as early as doable.”
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