Levelise: Transforming the pitch and exploring future opportunities

Published: 20 August 2019

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 Energy Launchpad, 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 using Artifical Intelligence 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

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.

The Solution

Energy Systems Catapult is home to the Energy Launchpad, which provides carefully selected innovators with tailored business incubation and acceleration support to help address barriers to growth, de-risk innovation, scale-up the business and secure investment.

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



Incubator

Tailored support for selected SMEs utilising the Catapult assets and capabilities, and delivery partner offerings, such as business model development, energy system integration assessment, consumer insights guidance, digital fitness, market testing and validation, investor readiness, specialist advice, as well as identification for Acceleration support.


Energy Launchpad 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 through our panel Home Truths consumer panel.
  • We tapped into our Delivery Support Network to carry out market analysis, both domestically and globally. Partner Delta EE delivered 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 Launchpad changed the way Levelise pitches to customers. The meticulous scrutiny and testing with focus groups delivered by the Consumer Insight team enabled Levelise to develop a far more refined proposition.

  • Since Levelise began working with Energy Systems Catapult in 2018, they have tripled their number of employees and are now working with 1000’s of customers across the UK.
  • Levelise has gone on to partner with Heatrae Sadia (a BAXI Heating UK group company) on the User Project. In this Government-funded trial, Levelise are optimising a virtual community of 350 homes across the country by using the energy storage potential of the everyday hot water cylinder to help balance the grid.
  • 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. Based on the insights supported by Energy Systems Catapult, Levelise’s parent company have gone on to expand to the Australian market and has launched a sales team there which is expected to grow over the coming months.

“Our concept is a complex one that requires a lot of explanation and the Catapult is really good at finding ways to convey the message in a way that the customer understands.”

Josh Robson-Hemmings, Chief Engineer and Co-Founder at Levelise.