Delft, January 14, 2016 – InnovationQuarter is providing seed funding to Solar Monkey, a technology startup from the incubation program YES!Delft. Solar Monkey delivers advanced software and services to solar panel installers to design a solar panel system that is precisely calculated according to the solar energy yield. The calculated yield is guaranteed to consumers through the Stichting Zonnegarant (the ‘Guaranteed Sun’ Foundation), and offers consumers confidence in their investment. Deputy Mayor Ferrie Förster from the City of Delft announced InnovationQuarter’s new investment – the first of 2016 – at the New Year’s reception of YES!Delft. Solar Monkey will use the investment to introduce their products and services to the Dutch market.
Investing in sun
Solar energy (Photo-Voltaic or PV) is rapidly gaining popularity. In 2014, the Netherlands realized 95 000 new PV installations, with a total capacity of 371 MW. In order to achieve the national targets set for renewable energy generation, the installation of PV panels needs to be increased in the coming years. Because of the drop in costs, low interest rates on savings, and favourable energy offset rules, it is becoming more and more attractive for individuals and companies to install these systems and to invest in sunshine. The PV installation market is highly fragmented, and product quality varies widely. Shadow on one panel can lower the yield of the entire system. This complicates the choice for the consumer, and Dutch news programs Radar and NOS have emphasized how difficult it is for consumers to purchase a solar panel system with certainty. Solar Monkey takes the uncertainty about the solar yield away, enables users to predict it accurately, and offers a guarantee.
Certainty about the yield of solar panels
Solar Monkey delivers an accurate prediction for an installation in a specific location by making use of meteorological models, 3D environmental information, and data from a number of systems. It also takes into consideration the effects of shade, vegetation and the built environment.
The algorithms were developed by Solar Monkey themselves, with support from the TU Delft, and this technology has been converted into a simple and reliable design tool for installers. Installers who use the services of Solar Monkey can give a yield guarantee to their customers. The guarantee is secured by the Stichting Zonnegarant, a guarantee fund established by Solar Monkey. This means that the guarantees remain valid, even if the installer’s company is insolvent. Solar Monkey’s approach is unique in the market, and offers consumers a safe investment.
Next step for startup Solar Monkey
Solar Monkey was founded in 2015 by Mels van Hoolwerff and Jan Pieter Versluijs, both alumni of the Technical University of Delft. The company was admitted in 2015 to the YES!Delft incubation program and is also part of the Climate KIC program. Climate KIC provides coaching in the areas of business and financial support to startups working in the field of sustainable innovation
Solar Monkey is using the investment to introduce the product on the Dutch market. Jan Pieter Versluijs, co-founder of Solar Monkey, is pleased with the investment: “With this investment we can accelerate our growth. Last summer, we started a pilot project with the company 365Zon, a partner installer. The results are very positive. The installers’ immediate interest in using our product was incredible. ”
Investing in smart technology
This investment is also the first one in a YES!Delft-based company for InnovationQuarter, the regional development agency of West Holland,. Together with an experienced co-investor, InnovationQuarter has invested € 200.000,- in the young company.
Rinke Zonneveld, Director of InnovationQuarter stated: “I am very pleased with our first investment in a company from YES!Delft, the source of many exciting technological startups in our region! And Solar Monkey is a good example of a company that combines a smart business model with social impact.”
Mels van Hoolwerff, co-founder of Solar Monkey, is very satisfied with the cooperation with InnovationQuarter: “InnovationQuarter has helped us to realize this investment round. They brought us in touch with an experienced business angel that matched our interests. With these two investors, we not only gain financial expertise on board, but also important know-how. ”
Photography: © Daniel Verkijk