Clever Solar Devices, the company digitalising the photovoltaic industry
Clever Solar Devices is a company that digitalises behaviour at the photovoltaic solar panel level, which implies a notable improvement in energy production and with the aim of bringing green energy to more families. This is a company born from scratch, from the identification of a problem and its commitment to solving it by applying technology.
According to their proposal, their solution saves 70% in operational costs and improves the energy production of a solar photovoltaic installation by 12%, making it possible for the first time to diagnose 100% of the solar panels of an installation remotely and in real-time.
Bhishma Hernández Martínez, the founder of this company, compares its beginnings with the start of Hewlett-Packard. "In our case, it wasn't in a garage, it was in a small room full of instruments and computer screens in a small village of 22 inhabitants in the province of Soria," says Hernández. His knowledge of electronics and business development was developed precisely in Sant Cugat, one of Hewlett-Packard's sites, where he became one of the benchmarks for innovation.
As the company's needs increased, he convinced the different members of the current team of his project. Shortly after starting, José Luis Sevillano joined the team, who has been developing the entire platform from Istanbul since the beginning. Then came Sergio Santos, who continued developing and programming the hardware solution. Finally, Alexandra Pradas, who, with her experience in marketing and the introduction of new products, designed the marketing and internationalisation plan.
THE PLATFORM SPECIFICATIONS
Thanks to its patented HW (WO 2020/193820 A1) and SW platform, Clever Solar Devices can diagnose with great precision, in real-time and at the module level, the state of a photovoltaic installation. By digitising the process, it reduces current O&M costs by 70% and increases production by 12%. For a 280MW plant, this represents a lifetime cost reduction of €30M and an increase in revenue of €100M. Currently, due to costs, such overhauls are done at most twice a year, with associated production stoppages and high risks of electrical shock to operators.
Clever Solar's solution simplifies the large volumes of information it handles so that they can be easily interpreted thanks to the SW platform it is also developing. "Our proposal is a solution that is compatible with any PV panel technology and any installation topology. This means that it can easily be upgraded in existing installations or installed in new ones," the company says.
The wireless communications system and the zero maintenance that must be done to the devices, facilitates an infrastructure that is easy to install, manage and whose benefits allow its customers to have a great return.
Clever Solar Devices also claims that "in addition to the complexity of managing a new company, all the development of its highly innovative product is being carried out in Soria, a province with a significant population problem and no industrial or human resources". This has also meant that they have applied the latest technologies from the outset to develop their solution with a completely distributed team (Soria, Valladolid, Barcelona, Istanbul, Logroño, Vigo...).
BUSINESS MODEL AND FUTURE OF CLEVER SOLAR DEVICES
Clever Solar is currently developing through a SaaS business model. They currently have clients in the different segments they focus on: residential (small, widely distributed installations); industrial (large rooftop installations with difficult access), and utility (gigantic installations with thousands of photovoltaic modules). Its efforts are mainly focused on utility-type installations due to their great growth potential.
The startup, which has so far raised €426K, is now looking to close the next investment round of €1 million. This will take place in late 2021 or early 2022.
They have also applied for the EIC Accelerator grant, which would mean an extra (non-refundable) investment of €2.5 million. They have already passed the first selection phase and are very focused on passing the second and the final phase.
The objectives of the round and grant are, in general terms: internationalisation; preparing GTM and sales growth; finalising/stabilising HW industrialisation and continuing to develop new HW and SW products. Part of the budget will be used to increase the workforce to cover all needs.