Levelise: Transforming the pitch and exploring future opportunities

Published: 20 August 2019

As part of our commitment to supporting SMEs across the UK to bring to market decarbonisation innovations, Energy Systems Catapult has teamed-up with Levelise through our Energy Launchpad division to explore the role that domestic batteries can play in optimising energy use across the country.

Energy Systems Catapult’s insights into energy usage by UK consumers helped Levelise understand the market landscape and connect with potential partners.

Domestic batteries allow consumers to optimise solar PV-generated power and earn income by selling excess energy back to the grid. However, the adoption rates have been low as consumers must cover the upfront cost of the battery before enjoying the long-term benefits.

Levelise developed an innovative home energy management system that links domestic battery systems across several homes to decrease costs.

The Innovation

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

Levelise seeks to make home battery systems more cost-effective and affordable by better predicting solar generation and energy consumption. They use Artificial Intelligence to increase the aggregate capacity across a fleet of consumer batteries, also known as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

By connecting domestic batteries across several homes, households can participate in network balancing which creates a more flexible grid, reduces the need for network reinforcement, and provides an extra revenue stream for consumers.

The Challenge

Managing the increasing demand for electricity, driven by the decarbonisation of heat and transport, is an important challenge facing the energy system.

Energy companies need access to flexible behind-the-meter technology. Digital services and platforms are critical for unlocking the value of decentralised assets (such as solar and batteries) to create a more efficient energy system at a lower cost to consumers.

Levelise’s team of hardware and software engineers, data scientists and renewable energy specialists already had a robust technical foundation and a clear vision when they began working with Energy Systems Catapult.

However, VPPs are complex – cutting across systems integration, energy trading, and consumer engagement models. To overcome resource limitations, reach 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 – ensuring high customer uptake at launch.
  • 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.

  • Increasing customers – since Levelise began working with Energy Systems Catapult in 2018, they are now working with 1000’s of customers across the UK.
  • Increased consumer acceptance of novel domestic energy services by refining their pitch in a service design sprint and validating the proposition through our Home Truths consumer panel — delivered by our Consumer Insight team.
  • Growing team – Levelise tripled their employees and are now working with thousands of consumers across the UK.
  • Partnerships and overseas market entry accelerated through Delta EE’s market research.

Next Steps

  • Partnering 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 using the energy storage potential of the everyday hot water cylinders. Energy Systems Catapult is working with both companies to provide feedback on the technology from real consumers and help them refine their proposition to maximise its appeal.
  • Horizon scanning has shown future service development and market timing like the rise of cooling during hot summers. Levelise now have a solid understanding of value streams and barriers to entry.
  • Expanded to the Australian market – based on the overseas market insights, 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.