According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) last year we saw the world’s renewable energy industry grow at its fastest rate since 1999. Seeing solar power and wind farm projects grow by 45%, even during the tumultuous restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic.
As the demand for clean energy increases, and global initiatives pushing governments and corporations to adhere to public demand, IEA has revised its renewable energy forecasts in the coming years by 25%.
The report stated that: “Long-term contracts, priority access to the grid, and continuous installation of new plants underpinned renewables growth despite lower electricity demand.”
Solar Renewable energy powerhouses such as Tesla (funding: £11.2bn), Sunnova (funding: £1.2bn) BrightSource Energy (funding: 567.9M) AES Solar (funding: 493.8m) and SoloPower (funding: 329.2m) have long lead the way. Yet as the market develops, rising AI solar energy start-ups have also been pinpointed as indicators of a brighter future.
We have covered the vast potential of AI in the energy sector, helping to optimise the grid when we spoke with TechUK’s Associate Director of Climate, Environment and Sustainability Susanne Baker. Weather prediction and usage forecasts via channelling the masses of data available, helps to reduce energy leakage, increase energy flow and ultimately improve efficiency.
AI Solar Energy Start-ups
Since 2018 the cloud based AI powered software leader SenseHawk, have operated in over 15 countries with over 80 customers, helping them to implement and manage their sites. Utilising drones, construction and software they aim to both install and maintain their sites.
SenseHawk states on their website: “Our goal is to help solar companies streamline processes and use automation to enhance the productivity of their teams.” Based in Saratoga, California they also have development centres in Bangalore, India and Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Back in March the IIOT and AI-powered clean energy SaaS platform Prescinto raised $3.5m (£2.4m) in a seed round, further proof of its ability to improve solar power plant generation by 7% at a cost of 0.1% of revenue.
Prescinto provides real time insights for Solar PV plants, offering fleet managed, performance benchmarking, O&M automation and downtime analysis. Prescinto’s AI aims to identify the root causes of underperformance reducing costs of operation and maintenance.
Prescinto Managing Director Puneet Singh Jaggi recently stated: “Prescinto is building a cutting edge platform to seamlessly integrate data from different brands of devices each communicating in their own distinct ways.”
“At Prescinto, we are building the brain of solar projects using AI. We are building tech which will herald the future of clean energy not only in India but across the world. ”
By mapping and monitoring technology Oxford based solar AI solutions company PowerMarket looks to leverage satellite data to optimise the solar energy sector. Through IP deep-learning mapping and monitoring technology they also look to improve energy trading, giving policy makers and real estate asset managers the tools to identify optimal solar sites.
Last year Venture Capital firm QVentures announced their investment into PowerMarket, QVentures stating that they: “backed the belief that grid operators, councils and other organisations’ need to map their energy requirements in a scalable way, and this will become a critical component in managing energy usage.”
When announcing the investment with PowerMarket, QVentures Partner Brian Hatton said: “we’re very excited for the future of PowerMarket and how it can become a staple tool in the smarter and more sustainable cities of the future.”
As the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy puts greater demand on solutions and innovation, we are seeing positive signs in the renewable energy stock market according to index provider MSCI. If people are willing to invest, hopefully that means more innovation is to follow.