Munich-based software company GreenCom Networks has acquired home energy management start-up shine, which was launched by innogy Innovation Hub.
Shine offers its services to residential customers and optimises the usage of solar PV, batteries, electric vehicle charging or heat pumps. In addition, it advises residential customers on tariff switching as well as installation and management of resources such as solar PV. This will allow GreenCom to integrate its solutions more closely with fully digital end customer processes and replicate the model with other utility partners and in other countries, Christian Feisst, chief executive at GreenCom Networks tells Engerati.
Technology is no longer the primary hurdle for the digital transformation of the electricity sector. Rather, it is how to persuade the customer to become more engaged and let companies like shine use existing flexibilities.
“One of the biggest challenges for a utility is that even if they have good technology projects, they still struggle to acquire customers for selling services,” Feisst says. Customers will have the choice of a flat-rate service or ‘carefree’ offering where they allow shine to control their solar PV and battery storage system to maximize own consumption and lower costs. Optimising home energy flows will be a main driver, Christian Feisst is convinced: ‘The energy transition will be pushed by residential customers from the bottom.”
GreenCom secured a deal earlier this year with Centrica, which has set up a dedicated business unit for home energy management that will provide new products and services to home owners. The GreenCom Energy Internet of Things (IoT) platform should help customers reduce their energy bill, or even make money by supplying surplus power to the grid at periods of high demand through a virtual power plant.
This model is a blueprint for future development, Feisst tells Engerati. Further utility partnerships have yet to be announced, but the company works closely with an industry consortium called Free Electrons which includes 10 major energy companies: Ausnet Services (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Japan). GreenCom is one of 12 innovative energy start-ups selected from 450 applications across 51 countries that the consortium supports.