The Silicon Review
In a relatively short period of time, Distributed Energy Resources have come a long way. Moreover, the pace of development is also speeding up. A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a network of independent DER systems which makes use of a cloud-based control system to achieve the performance of a single large capacity energy source. A VPP is basically a network of medium-scale power generating units that is decentralized like solar parks, wind farms, and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units, as well as storage systems and flexible power consumers. The primary objective of a Virtual Power Plant is to reduce the load on the grid drastically. This is done by smartly distributing the power that is generated by the individual units during the period of peak load.
The tiko Energy Solutions brings you a platform with the power of a Virtual Power Plant and an award-winning Smart Home Energy Management system designed to connect your Residential and SME assets. tiko is a dynamic and innovative scale-up based in Zürich, Switzerland, and Milan, Italy, with operations in Europe and Australia. All of tiko’s devices and solutions are developed end to end by their multicultural team – that’s what enables them to cater to clients’ precise needs. At tiko, they believe that the energy revolution will come from the people, for the people. The change will be possible if we collectively change the way we consume energy. This is what tiko’s solution does: they designed an award-winning Energy Management System and an app that integrates residential devices, independently of their brand, generation, and model, and connects them in one place. These empower end-customers to control better and optimize their energy consumption and save money. Those devices are also connected to tiko’s Virtual Power Plant, which generates additional revenue from their flexibility. This allows tiko’s customers - utilities, electrical device manufacturers or installers - to create hybrid business models where they generate revenue from the sale of the HEMS to their clients and the balance energy sold to the grid.
In conversation with Fréderic Gastaldo, CEO and Co-Founder of tiko Energy Solutions
Q. What is the main objective of a Virtual Power Plant and does a Virtual Power Plant contribute to environment sustainability?
Our Virtual Power Plant is really disruptive because it swaps bottom up the dependencies between the power plants and the users. Users typically entirely depend on power plants, but VPP’s are increasingly dependent on users. Considering the increase in renewables market share, this swapping is accelerating and will keep on doing so. Moreover, creating VPP’s generates additional revenue for our customers. Combining our award-winning Home Energy Management System with a VPP creates a very attractive business case, making the EMS affordable, and thus higher adoption rates. High adoption rates mean more people control the way they consume energy, which will have an impact on the climate. Millions of people managing their consumption and saving energy will have a massive effect. Self-consumption optimization can also provide enormous benefits. Instead of sending power back and forth (PV overproducing and sending to the grid in the day, then house taking from the grid in the night) local self-consumption optimization can lower the required equipment size and reduce the end-user’ costs.
Q. How has this technology altered the dynamics of energy management?
tiko’s Energy Management System is one of the best on the market. Our solution is compatible with any residential device, whatever the brand, model, or generation, thus allowing retrofits. Combining our EMS with a Virtual Power Plant generates additional revenue and makes our solution affordable and highly attractive. We give end-customers better control and insight into their energy consumptions while generating revenue by connecting the devices to our VPP system. This combination of our Energy Management System and Virtual Power Plant makes our solution unique and creates innovative business models with the highest security standards. The offer is highly differentiating and perceived very positively by end-customers, supporting both acquisition and loyalty strategies. To ensure a more massive adoption on the market, we operate under white-label everywhere outside Switzerland, where we have our initial market. We put the knowledge we have acquired at the disposal of our clients, to enable them to deploy our solution seamlessly as fast as possible and serve their objectives through their brand.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
The current pandemic crisis shows us that the sense of community is getting stronger, the need to do something good together, and the need for more control and transparency. We are developing solutions to answer this need. We believe it is important that we take this opportunity to build up communities that can better connect our societies, making them more resilient and inclusive. Finding new ways to accelerate the energy transition is quickly becoming one of the most important tasks we face as a society; it’s only fitting that one of the most promising solutions will see us once again coming together and embracing the community’s idea.
Q. What are your trajectories for the next 5 years?
We are planning to further expand geographically and to target new segments. The more devices we connect to our platform, the bigger is our impact on climate change. The need to do something good together is getting stronger and we are working every day on answering this need. Then only “Together we’re stronger”: this is our claim and what we believe in.
Meet the leader behind the success of tiko Energy Solutions
After a successful career in the manufacturing, consulting, and telco industries, Frédéric Gastaldo, tiko’s CEO and Co-founder shaped tiko’s vision around this own personal belief that we can give our planet a chance if we collectively change the way we consume energy. We don’t have much time to make this happen – our planet needs us, and this change needs and will come from the people. Fréderic quoted “As global warming hits the planet in a matter of a couple of human generations; we have an incredibly short period of time for the entire system to adjust and avoid dramatic consequences. At tiko, we are committed to delivering technologies that enable the energy transition here and now. As opposed to too little too late.”