National Renewables Network (NRN) recognises a wedge that’s dividing those who can afford to install solar panels and batteries, and those who are left to pay market rates for power.
Their solution is a funding mechanism that incentivises your power company to install renewables for everyone!
OnImpact spoke with Founder and CEO, Alan Hunter.
What does your business do, and who are your customers?
NRN is enabling energy retailers to offer unique energy plans to residential and small businesses that include Solar and Battery without cost to the end user, just simply an energy bill that can be cheaper.
Our main customer is the energy retailer. We see an importance for energy retailers to proactively support the transition of their customer base to renewable solutions like rooftop Solar and Battery storage, yet at time they can be disincentivised as their margins can be impacted.
At NRN, we have built a solution that enables all Energy Retailers, to offer this unique bundle to their customer to which can improve their bottom-line. The NRN Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is designed for retailers, with an aim to reduce their cost of supply and mitigate their market exposure.
What’s the core problem you’re trying to solve?
We are democratising the access to renewable energy. The current status-quo of relying on consumers to purchase or finance energy infrastructure for their home or business is creating inequalities for those who cannot afford such installation.
We believe that it won’t be too long until we see the effects of “Energy Poverty”, as those who could afford to purchase or finance a Solar / Battery system are avoiding network charges to which they will soon be passed on to those who are unable to have behind the meter generation.
NRN is also trying to solve the issue of 17 GW of unmanaged generation connected to our fragile grid, as 100% of our systems include a battery system to be able to support the retailer with market arbitrage and provide networks local support for grid stability via the VPP.
The NRN solution removes all barriers of entry for consumers and enables us to manage the assets in the favour of the energy market requirements, rather than the financial interests of the investor.
How have you seen investor interest in the climate-tech space develop in the past 5 years
The investment landscape for energy transition in Australia is only getting bigger. In Australia we have a great opportunity ahead of us to be the renewable superpower, which is attracting some amazing founders developing new technologies and investors supporting the vision. Climate-tech should be a priority for all VC’s and impact investors over the next few years, as some of the challenges we are facing will need to be solved.
In NRN, we have seen a need to invest time and money into our climate-tech to improve our product offering and ability to scale.
Was there a business (either local or globally) that influenced the development of your organisation?
There is a business founded by Mario Kohle in Germany, called Enpal, which offers a very similar product to the German market. They have developed a solution that a customer can lease a Solar & Battery system, for a cost that would show instant cashflow benefit. They have great success in Germany with > 25,000 homes installed across the country.
Enpal is a great example of a business that has a very clear mission and can remove the barriers of entry for their market.
What’s in store for your business in 2022?
This year for NRN is deployment, we are very excited about the next 12 / 18 months in our business. We are aiming to support over 2,500 customers upgrade to Solar & Battery through the NRN network over the next 18 months. We will also be adding other assets to our product offering to support the transition to electrification.
We have some big goals ahead alongside many small pilots with various partners to challenge the current status-quo to how customers can electrify their homes and power it through renewable energy.