Jan 24, 2024

Our Investment in Enurgen

Enurgen is building the operating platform for large scale solar projects.

Zach Johnston

Solar energy is booming

Solar power is at the forefront of the global renewable energy transition. Over 4000 GW of solar capacity is expected to come online globally between now and 2030. That's the equivalent of almost 10 billion new solar panels, which would cover an area spanning across over 3 million NFL football fields!

Why now?

Immense amounts of R&D to improve the efficiency of solar panels, and reduce the cost to produce them, has led to a decrease in the price of solar energy on a kW/h basis that makes it cost comparable or cheaper than other carbon-based energy alternatives. Utility-scale solar systems have become the cheapest source of electricity generation in most parts of the world.

Bifacial panels

One key innovation that has enabled this efficiency gain is a bifacial solar panel. Bifacial panels basically absorb light from both the front and rear of the panel. This can help increase the amount of energy that a panel generates by 5-15%.

However, because the back side absorbs light that is reflecting off the ground or other objects, it is more challenging to model the performance of a bifacial panel. For solar power operators, poor modeling means:

  • the inability to secure proper financing or purchase agreements
  • inaccurate maintenance alerts if output is less than originally predicted

Solar power plants operate on very tight margins. Even a slight variance in output above or below what was modeled can have extreme consequences on the unit economics, customer agreements, and profitability of a plant. Today, solar panel plants can be underperforming by 7-13% because of these challenges.

Enter the Enurgen team

We met the team behind Enurgen as they were spinning out of the University of Ottawa's SUNLAB, one of the most prestigious solar labs in the world.

Kibby Pollak (CEO) and Chris Valdivia (CTO), along with their peers, realized early-on that there was a lack of modeling software for bifacial solar panels and spent several years developing the most powerful modeling engine on the market.

We were immediately blown away by this team's technical expertise, lineup of customers that couldn't wait to get their hands on the product, and bold vision to become the operating platform for large any scale solar project.

How Enurgen works

Enurgen's bifacial modeling engine - named DUET - computes the energy yield of both monofacial and bifacial modules within a solar array. The model processes solar resource and meteorological data for the given geographic location to give drastically more accurate predictions of solar asset yield. This reduces the uncertainty in the yield prediction and design optimization process that is so often experienced by solar designers, engineers and asset owners.

But this is just the beginning…

Through this modeling, Enurgen will extend DUET’s software engine capabilities into an all-in-one platform to provide on-going value for solar power plant project stakeholders. Its core value proposition will expand to provide end-to-end continuity of the constructed PV system model, acting as the digital twin to serve value across the 30 year lifecycle of a solar power plant. The DUET platform allows solar plant operators to use these digital twins to aid in:

DESIGN (how to position panels and their racks to maximize energy yield and run energy yield models within 1% agreement of physical solar asset performance, reducing performance risk),

ASSET MANAGEMENT (addressing energy yield performance optimization across a portfolio of assets, model continuity to detect performance deviations from expectations and forecast production for optimal trading strategies), and

OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE (catching maintenance issues early by comparing prediction to actual energy output).

Enurgen is currently testing its platform with several utility-scale solar operators, with the goal to launch publicly in Q1 of 2024.

2048VC x Enurgen

We are thrilled to announce our pre-seed investment in Enurgen, alongside our friends at Techstars, Sand Hill North, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, & Avesta Fund.

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