15 August 2017
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is investing $2 million in clean-tech company Wattwatchers to help expand production of its award-winning measurement device that helps consumers to better control their energy use and costs.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said that high energy prices and rooftop solar's high domestic uptake provide the perfect opportunity to work smarter with energy.
"We're supporting the development of an innovative electricity market that hands Australian households and businesses the opportunity to get more control over the way that they consume and produce energy," Mr Learmonth said.
"Wattwatchers represents what we expect will be the first wave of innovative behind-the-meter technologies that can provide ongoing savings for householders and businesses, while delivering information that can also improve the security and stability in the supply of energy from the grid."
The Wattwatchers device makes it possible to see what is driving power consumption. Most consumers currently get their energy usage data retrospectively with their electricity bill, based on a meter reading that can be as infrequent as once a year. The Wattwatchers device provides real-time data at whole-of-home and business and individual circuit levels.
The CEFC's $2 million investment, through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, is part of Wattwatchers' $4 million 2017 Series A capital raising. The first $2 million tranche is held by Renewable Energy Venture Capital fund (REVC), which is independently managed by Southern Cross Venture Partners (SXVP) for co-funders the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Softbank China.
CEFC Investment Development Director Blair Pritchard said the CEFC's investment would help the Sydney-based Wattwatchers lift production volumes and drive down production costs.
"The Wattwatchers technology is small and very smart. The clamp-on internet device, working with a choice of cloud-hosted management interfaces, provides data that shows where and when energy is being consumed in real time," Mr Pritchard said.
"Equipment such as solar panels and solar hot water systems can underperform or waste power without consumers being fully aware. Real-time data identifies where and when consumption is occurring, and whether the patterns are economical, or perhaps excessive and therefore wasteful and overly expensive.
"We see Wattwatchers as a business that will complement other technologies to help Australians understand how they can consume energy at least cost. We also see real-time data access as an important development for rooftop solar owners looking to better manage their systems and on-site consumption. This means they can reap the most benefits from their own energy production, as well as storage and generation into the grid."
Wattwatchers was founded in 2007 and has been working steadily to develop, pilot and commercially launch its energy data technology. Last year it won the Australian Technologies Competition New Energy Award.
Wattwatchers CEO Gavin Dietz said that adding the CEFC to the private company's share register provided further confirmation of the strength of its clean energy technology achievements and growth trajectory.
"Wattwatchers' technology can be used across residential, commercial, industrial and utility services because it works with a wide range of software applications," Mr Dietz said.
"We see it working alongside other smart technology applications, battery storage and microgrids to benefit Australian energy consumers as the new energy transformation occurs globally.
"Our next step is to bundle the option of a simple home energy management app with Wattwatchers devices free-of-charge. This will include online budgeting tools for householders to track their electricity use and set alerts to help them save money and cut carbon pollution."
While expanding its local production, Wattwatchers is also looking to expand in international markets, with pilots already under way in New Zealand, the US, UK, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Demand response technology already has a strong foothold in the North American and European markets. Australia's high penetration of domestic rooftop solar points to strong opportunities for similar technology here.
Mr Pritchard added: "Having more data offers electricity consumers the opportunity to intentionally shift their energy use in response to market pricing, which in turn, reduces the pressure on peak generation, as well as transmission and distribution networks.
"It can also provide information which enables energy service providers to identify and draw on locally-sourced renewable energy to bolster the grid when demand spikes, helping avoid blackouts and outages, providing a more constant and potentially cheaper electricity supply."
Wattwatchers is an award-winning Australian cleantech focused on devices, data and communications to make behind-the-meter energy management ultra-smart, easy-to-install and cost-effective. A startup company based in Sydney, Wattwatchers develops and markets 'IoT for energy' hardware + firmware + software solutions to accurately monitor, analyse and control electrical circuits in real-time over the internet. Our mission is to empower people with data to help them save money, fast-track renewable technologies and reduce carbon pollution - while supporting electricity systems to operate more reliably and to integrate cleaner, more distributed energy resources into the grid. The internationally-certified Wattwatchers product suite is highly flexible, crossing over for residential, commercial and industrial, and utility use cases; and works with an expanding choice of cloud platforms, software applications and consumer interfaces. More information at: www.wattwatchers.com.au