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Smart Metering Systems reveals Solo Energy acquisition as it enters VPP market

Image: Colin Keldie, courtesy of Solo Energy.

Image: Colin Keldie, courtesy of Solo Energy.

Energy tech start-up Solo Energy has been acquired by Smart Metering Systems, it was announced today (27 March).

Solo Energy offers battery storage, microgeneration and electric vehicle (EV) chargers at no upfront cost to homes or business, as well as forming strategic partnerships with energy suppliers to offer low cost renewable energy supply.

It has also developed a cloud-based aggregation platform – FlexiGrid – in house.

FlexiGrid controls distributed assets to balance renewable generation and create local smart energy systems, with the platform a central part of the ReFLEX scheme in Orkney.

ReFLEX is to integrate electricity, transport and heat networks to better balance renewable energy demand and supply, designed to maximise the potential of Orkney’s renewable production capabilities and provide a concept that could be replicated across other regions.

SMS confirmed that the UK Research and Innovation-funded project passed its first stage gate review in February.

Mark Hamilton, MD and co-founder of Solo Energy, lauded the role of behind-the-meter technologies such as batteries, smart EV charging and flexible electrical heating in the energy transition but stressed that for these to become mass market, the consumer “shouldn’t be asked to put their hand in their pocket to cover the upfront cost”.

“SMS’s recent acquisition of Solo demonstrates the strong appetite for private financing to get behind a rapid decarbonisation transition where every consumer can adopt flexible demand technologies to support the renewables transition and enjoy low-carbon, low-cost energy.”

SMS itself installs and manages smart meters and carbon reduction assets to facilitate effective energy management. Its acquisition of Solo Energy will allow it to fulfil the rollout of carbon reduction assets at scale, it said, with Solo Energy’s VPP model dependent on the wider rollout of smart meters.

Suppliers have, however, paused installations of smart meters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though the long term effect on the rollout and government targets is not yet known.

As of December 2019, SMS had installed 3.73 million meter and data assets, with the company also providing consultancy services to allow organisations and corporate entities to enhance long term efficiency and effectiveness in energy management.

Tim Mortlock, chief operating officer of SMS, said: “Looking forward, FlexiGrid will additionally enhance our ability to provide a comprehensive end-to-end service proposition to our established industrial, domestic and energy services customer base and will address the market disruption affecting the UK and global energy system now and in the years to come.”

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