Interrupted by covid-19, the photovoltaic social network Sunleavs is getting a new boost

False start. CES Las Vegas 2020 should have served as the kickoff for the launch of Indewatt. The ace. The Covid-19 got involved. And the startup was forced to postpone the start of its first pilot project. First step in the implementation of its Sunleavs solution, supposed to connect residents so that they invest together in a photovoltaic installation.

Our idea is to accompany our customers in the development of the installation, in the management of the project and the community, in the maintenance and monitoring of the production system “, explains Romain Chayla, founder of Indewatt. For this, a sharing platform allows users to geolocate, create or join a Solar social club. Club members are then equipped with consumption sensors attached to their electrical panel. “ They read consumption in real time. This makes it possible to distribute the energy production according to their individual needs. “. It is this collective dimension, as well as the desire to offer its customers personalized advice, which differentiates the company from its competitors.

A university partnership on AI

Unable to implement its idea in the allotted time, the startup Indewatt is beefing up its model, in particular by establishing a partnership with the public laboratory LIS (Laboratory of Computing and Systems), a Joint Research Unit under the supervision of the CNRS, from the University of Aix-Marseille and that of Toulon. ” We have set up a Cifre thesis to implement artificial intelligence in the energy distribution algorithm, so that it adapts to user behavior and to be able to provide personalized advice in order to optimize consumption and local energy production “.

The postponement of its launch also gave the startup time to forge a partnership with the Var renewable energy producer Soleil du Sud. And another company, dedicated entirely to the launch of the Sunleavs project, has been created for greater clarity.

Sunleavs: the social network of solar energy goes concrete

News that confirms the initial strategy

However, no change in post-epidemic strategy. ” On the contrary, the news proves that our vision of the market is the right one. In 2020, electricity price increases were 6% per year. Now we go to 15% “. Because of the indexation to the price of gas. But also because nuclear power plants are at their end. We cannot prolong them forever and their construction takes time “. Enough to leave renewable energies enough leeway to make a difference.

And this time, Sunleavs ensures to be ready. “ The first pilot project will start in Solliès-Pont, in the Var. The production unit is built. And we are going to recruit around twenty users in the coming weeks. “. Volunteers – individuals, but also why not local authorities – who will be able to try out the solution for free. History of prowling the technology well before its actual commercialization planned a year later.

For this, a commercial demonstrator is under development. This will be located in La Seyne-sur-mer and will aim to supply around a hundred customers, won over by communication combining social networks and local players such as neighborhood interest committees.

Users will pay a first rent » which will be used to finance the installation of consumption sensors on their electrical panel as well as an energy audit in order to adjust the power to the needs. A monthly subscription will be added to this, the amount of which will vary according to the power of production.

From 20% to 100% of needs covered

Initially, Romain Chayla foresees that thanks to Sunleavs, self-consumption will be able to cover 20% to 30% of daily needs. “ Users will remain subscribed to their conventional energy supplier. We are a complementary solution “. But eventually, he wants to go further. ” The goal is to increase this share by adding energy storage via electric vehicles, thermal storage on hot water tanks. There is also work to be done so that consumers shift their consumption during the day rather than at night. “. Until aiming for total self-consumption within ten years.

To engage serenely in the race for renewable energies, the start-up plans to strengthen its workforce, which will have 5 employees at the end of October. ” We would like to recruit 7 other people within two years “. And a fundraiser of 300,000 to 400,000 euros is being prepared for 2023, while the demand is already there. ” We have requests from local authorities and private landlords who have roofs available “.

So a new start. And the startup intends this time to rely on the Innovation Prize that has just been awarded to it by the Chamber of Trades and Crafts of the Var, as part of its Stars and Trades competition. A title certainly less flashy than that of CES Las Vegas. But perhaps more in phase with a development that will necessarily go through a strong local anchoring.