SparkMeter, a supplier of grid administration providers, gear, and software program options, as we speak closed an $11 million funding spherical. A spokesperson advised VentureBeat the funds shall be used to launch the corporate’s new digital options that join grid information insights to enterprise operations for electrical energy distribution utilities in rising markets.
Utility suppliers in such areas typically wrestle with income loss resulting from nonpayment and cargo administration challenges, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. In a 2016 paper, researchers on the University of Oxford discovered that capital expense necessities for providers like electrical energy are “acutely sensitive to the density at which urbanization occurs.” In different phrases, extending connections in growing areas can contain giant upfront prices.
SparkMeter addresses widespread utility ache factors by providing internationally compliant meters and built-in software program to automate cost processes, prioritize upkeep, and monitor system efficiency. The firm’s platform leverages real-time information to prioritize and plan subject visits, determine and resolve buyer and technical points, and scale back outages by limiting consumption to particular teams throughout occasions of excessive demand or low provide (resulting from a voltage drop or transformer under-loading, for instance).
Clients can set up the corporate’s meters at buyer places, on transformers, and on fuses to begin accumulating uncooked grid information. (Local base stations make use of a low-bandwidth 2.5GHz RF community to gather metering and management information, enabling onsite operations throughout connectivity outages.) The platform then leverages this information to create fashions of distribution community property in simulation, alongside metrics pertaining to energy high quality, buyer credit and debt, electrical energy charge, and cargo restrict. From these fashions, utilities can estimate inefficiency in locations the place capital expense is likely to be wanted.
With SparkMeter, utilities can carry out upkeep and troubleshooting with out an web connection. They’re in a position to course of funds by way of bodily distributors and cell platforms and overview the standing of programs, utilization ranges, and ranges of losses. Consumed power is billed utilizing information reported by buyer and totalizer meters to determine discrepancies and inform predictive upkeep choices, and clients are alerted to occasions detected at utility websites.
SparkMeter grants managers the flexibility to customise privileges — that’s, create and handle vendor and operator accounts and grant particular person website entry. Users get an infinite and customizable tariff checklist and the liberty to regulate load limits by the hour and apply them to meters to enhance general reliability. Moreover, customers can make the most of SparkMeter’s API, which integrates grid and metering operations with present enterprise programs.
SparkMeter, whose metering system is utilized by greater than 40 utilities in 25 international locations, claims to have offered over 100,000 meters so far. CEO Dan Schnitzer says the corporate is now seeking to broaden its market presence in Asia and Africa.
The funding brings SparkMeter’s whole raised to round $14.2 million, following a $2.5 million seed spherical. Clean Energy Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (cofounded by Bill Gates) coled the spherical with Goodwell Investments, in partnership with Alitheia Capital, Total Energy Ventures, and different buyers.