Levelise: Transforming the pitch and exploring future opportunities

Published: 20 August 2019

Introduction

Domestic batteries help consumers optimise solar PV-generated power in their homes and earn income by selling their excess energy back to the grid. However, the upfront battery cost is high, and the payback period is long. As a result, take-up has been slow.

Levelise has developed an innovative home energy management system that links domestic battery systems across numerous homes to make them more financially viable.

Energy Systems Catapult is assisting Levelise through our Innovator Support Platform (ISP), offering consumer insight and competitor/market landscaping, alongside potential partnering opportunities.

The Innovation

Levelise is an Oxford-based technology start-up founded in March 2017 by a team of experienced, ex-Sharp hardware and software engineers, data scientists, and renewable energy specialists.

They are working to make home battery systems more economically viable by better predicting solar generation and energy consumption to increase the aggregate capacity across a fleet of consumer batteries – what’s known as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

By combining the batteries of numerous homes they can participate in network balancing, creating a more flexible grid, reducing the need for network reinforcement and providing an extra revenue stream for consumers.

The Challenge and Opportunity

Managing increasing electricity demand, driven by decarbonisation of heat and transport is critical challenge facing the transfromation of the energy system.

Accessing flexibility behind the meter using digital services and platforms are critical to unlocking value from decentralised assets – such as solar and batteries – to enable more efficient operation of the whole energy system at least cost.

Levelise – with its team of hardware and software engineers, data scientists and renewable energy specialists – already had a robust technical foundation and clear vision when they began working with the ISP.

However, VPPs are complex, cutting across systems integration, energy trading and consumer engagement models. So to overcome resource limitations, make moves towards the next stage of development and explore opportunities for market expansion, Levelise needed additional expertise.

Our Approach

Selected as part in the first intake of the Catapult’s Innovator Support Platform (ISP), Levelise was able to access value-added expertise and skills in which many start-up business struggle for resource.

The ISP draws on Catapult capabilities and assets, along with those of our partners.  The ISP provides innovators with tailored incubation and acceleration support to selected SMEs to help address systemic barriers, de-risk innovation, help businesses scale and secure investment.

The Catapult focused on how to tailor the Levelise proposition to their target market and was also able to scope out future scenarios, upcoming trends, and advise on what their business should be focused on in the long-term.

Levelise worked with our Consumer Insight team to explore domestic energy service propositions – evaluating consumer acceptance of novel energy services, including validating the approach within our Living Lab.

Levelise also utilised the Catapult’s expertise in market analysis, both domestically and globally. Our partner Delta EE assisted by delivering a current and forward-looking landscape view of energy suppliers and their position within the market, helping to identify prospective partners Levelise can target overseas.

The Impact

Energy Systems Catapult’s ISP helps SMEs in the energy space overcome barriers that prevent products and services from reaching the market at scale. So the ISP changed the way Levelise pitches to its customers. The meticulous scrutiny and testing with focus groups delivered by the Consumer Insight team enabled Levelise to develop a far more refined proposition.

“Our concept is a complex one that requires a lot of explanation,” according to Josh Robson-Hemmings, Chief Engineer and Co-Founder at Levelise, “the Catapult is really good at finding ways to convey the message in a way that the customer understands.”

Horizon scanning has highlighted opportunities for future service development and market timing, including related to the rise of cooling during hot summers. Levelise now has a solid understanding value streams and barriers to entry. The Levelise is also evaluating German and Australian expansion opportunities based on our advice, with seven potential partners identified.