Innovator Support: SIG Digital Energy System

Introduction

Digital services and cloud platforms are critical to unlocking value from the decentralisation and decarbonisation of the UK energy system. The use of new digital energy technologies will assist in maximising the use of renewables and their real time interaction with the local grid, enabling more cost-efficient operation of the whole energy system, saving money and cutting carbon.

SIG’s real-time smart energy IoT hardware and cloud solutions are designed to remotely control energy assets and sources with seamless integration with existing systems and provide the ability to optimise the operation of behind the meter industrial and commercial utility assets. Energy Systems Catapult is offering SIG expertise to refine their business value proposition, scoping the competitor landscape and assisting in investor readiness preparation.

The Challenge and Opportunity

Work by the Catapult’s Smart Systems and Heat programme, Future Power Systems Architecture and Energy Path Operations has shown significant requirement for digital energy solutions to manage many scenarios in future energy system.  These solutions also present their own challenges such as cybersecurity risks, speed of response and coordination of distributed resources to provide an optimised system solution.

The decentralisation of energy generation and distribution, combined with the rising availability of battery storage and adoption of electric vehicles, is enabling new service models and consumer benefits which capitalise on use of local generation and optimising existing assets to deliver savings – using mechanisms such as from peer-to-peer trading, demand-side response and new markets in trading flexibility.

However, this shift is also putting strain on local energy network infrastructure at the lower voltage ranges and as such, the value of controlling flexible loads at the edge of the grid will become an ever-increasing priority for distribution network/service operators (DNOs/DSOs) and will drive value in this emerging market.

The Innovation

SIG is an energy innovation company developing and manufacturing new digital energy hardware and software (Cloud) solutions for the emerging IoT (Internet of Things) industrial and commercial remote monitoring, reporting and asset control market.

SIG who are based in Tamworth, near Birmingham have designed and developed their own proprietary digital energy technologies and cloud systems ensuring all intellectual property (IP) associated with product development and manufacture cycle are internally controlled and protected.  Its digital control and automation and field applications use the most up to date 4G IoT gateways and provide the most up to date data encryption and authentication.

The SIG technologies are being used to optimise energy use and reduce costs whilst automating the system integration of generation, and storage resources, and introducing new income streams enabling consumers to participation in balancing markets. What’s more, SIG controls extend into the local network and can deliver additional benefits to the DSO/DNO by balancing energy flows and reducing the need for network reinforcement.

Through an Ofgem R2 regulatory ‘sandbox’, SIG are one of only three UK energy market innovators who have been given a special regulatory derogation for the trial of behind the meter control digital technologies to optimise existing roof top solar, batteries, main supplies with that of local low voltage grid to innovate and validate a new market model specific to social housing.

Our Approach

Our Innovator Support Platform (ISP) is providing tailored incubator support for selected SMEs utilising Catapult capabilities and assets and delivery partner offerings.

The complexity of integrating batteries with sensors and controls in a home environment, combined with attempts to push the regulatory barriers, requires a deep understanding of the whole energy system.

The ISP is helping SIG to identify opportunities arising from current transitions in the energy market that best exploit its technology. We are advising SIG on market positioning, as well as engaging with appropriate sales channel partners through development of a robust commercial business model.

Support offered to SIG, includes:

  • Competitive Landscape: Catapult partner Clear Blue Energy has identified competitors, key strengths and potential blind spots. The ISP team also helped develop their target market and strategy (which informed their next work package: Business Modelling).
  • Business Value Proposition: Our Business Model Innovation team reviewed, refined and audited the business value proposition to ensure SIG had a detailed understanding of the value, data and processes within its business model. A financial model is also under development to outline and reflect the financial flows and values for a SIG customer in a specific application. These outputs may be used to strengthen the investment presentation.
  • Investor Readiness: The ISP team are carrying out an investment diagnostic exercise with SIG emphasising the need to maintain B2B opportunities as well as continuing the focus on a new social housing market energy services solution.