Clean Energy Prospector (Cepro) develop ‘community microgrids’ for new build residential housing developments, allowing third-party providers to finance the cost of installing low carbon infrastructure, rather than the housing developer.

Energy Systems Catapult via Energy Launchpad is helping Cepro with consumer insight and exploring how their business model can better raise funds for scaling the business.

The Cepro Microgrid Innovation

Bristol-based Cepro’s innovative business model is to design, build and operate microgrids for new build housing developments. This moves the metering boundary and the cost for installing low carbon infrastructure to the microgrid provider and off the balance sheet of the housing developer.

As a result, the cost of technologies needed to create zero carbon homes – such as solar PV, heat pumps, battery storage and digital control systems – are financed at site scale and socialised within a community Energy Services Company, instead of loading the cost onto individual house-buyers.

Longer term this also provides opportunities for the microgrid developer to offer a range of services beyond energy to the homeowner.

Zero Carbon Homes: The Challenge

In the UK, 97% of new build homes are still developed with gas boilers and without solar panels. Despite virtually every house builder having an ambition to create low carbon developments, nobody wants to be the first to risk raising the cost of homes by installing the technologies needed to achieve zero carbon homes.

Cepro recently secured demonstration grant funding of £330k for a new community-led housing development in Bridport, which will include the first large scale domestic microgrid to be built in the UK. Called ‘Hazelmead’, the development comprises 54 properties and is due to be completed during Q3 of 2021. A second 33 home project is also under construction in Bristol.

To scale their business, Cepro wants help with reviewing their existing business model to identify a long-term funding approach that enables the business to scale in line with market demand. They are interested in expanding beyond the community-led housing market, with substantial scaling opportunities in mainstream housing. Help with identifying possible investors would also be welcome.

In addition, Cepro want to better understand the customer adoption aspects of community microgrids and want to carry out some consumer insight work based around the two microgrids under construction.

The Clean Energy 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.

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Scale-up support for selected high-impact potential SMEs. Support includes those areas outlined in incubation but in more depth, as well as help to access demonstration environments such as our Living Lab, engagement with potential corporate clients and investors, and links to international opportunities.

Energy Systems Catapult and its partners will deliver:

  • Business Model Innovation: Reviewing Cepro’s Customer Value Proposition and existing business model.
  • Investor Readiness Assessment: Vetting their Business Plan and identifying possible investors – such as low carbon infrastructure funds or angel investors.
  • Consumer Insight: Carrying out targeted research with new customers to gain a qualitative assessment of their perceptions about their offering.

Learn more about what our Energy Launchpad could do for your business.