Skyprospector, a combination of hardware and software that makes investing in solar energy hassle-free, has been awarded a 99,500 grant from the West of England Regional Growth Fund. The project was developed by energy-metering startup Clean Energy Prospector (CEPRO).
The service collects data from electricity meters, micro-generators and devices like fridges and hot water cyclinders. When the data has been collected, software calculates the cost-saving potential and provides data on energy performance.
Composed of three parts, Skyprospector measures electricity usage from a clip attached to a mains cable while a smart meter measures solar generation from a site in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile, a web app (pictured top right) linking the two bits of hardware gives the user feedback on performance.
Saving money and the planet
The new tech shows potential buyers how much they would save when using solar panels by calculating how much power an array would generate and comparing that figure with the amount of energy currently being used. Skyprospector should make the investment in solar energy more attractive to householders by familiarising them with how solar generation works. This will give potential converts a way to directly compare their energy consumption with the benefits of solar power, and should also make the switch appear more attractive and less risky.
Those who have already invested in solar energy are also likely to see a benefit, says Damon Rand, CEPRO’s cofounder and director. Current users of solar energy can compare their use of energy against generation from photovoltaics (PV), leading to more effective usage and interest in complementary tech such as energy storage.
On receiving the funding, Rand said: “With this grant we are now able to rapidly progress development of technology that supports the growing solar PV industry and help householders and housing managers to make informed and confident investment decisions in this alternative energy technology.”
“Being based in Bristol, a city with many world-leading low-carbon and high-tech companies, this recognition of our work by the West of England LEP is a welcome accolade”
He added, “Being based in Bristol, a city with many world-leading low-carbon and high-tech companies, this recognition of our work by the West of England LEP is a welcome accolade.”
CEPRO were previously the recipients of grant funding from the Technology Strategy Board, and currently run a trial website which allows members of the public to work out how much they could save by using solar energy. Thanks to the grant funding, CEPRO’s total employment figure now stands at 7.
The West of England LEP fund, now in its third round, closes on September 8, 2014. If you are part of an SME, email the funding team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01179036207. To keep up with Skyprospector, follow Damon Rand on twitter @ceprouk.