Start-up behind Ikea microgrid gears up for strategic shift to London

The developers of the dynamic energy management platform behind an industry-leading solar and battery microgrid being integrated at the Adelaide store of global furniture giant Ikea has raised $6.5 million to fund the establishment of a new home base in London.

EleXsys Energy, trading in Australia as Planet Ark Power, said on Thursday it had completed the $A6.55 million capital raise, the funds coming mostly from investors in Australian and the UK, where eleXsys was currently in the process of being incorporated.

eleXsys said the capital raise would to allow it to establish a strategic base in London, from which it could expand into key global markets including in North America, the EU, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific.

“As a rapidly growing, global, cleantech business, London is an obvious strategic location for a business with our ambitions,” said eleXsys Energy executive director, Richard Romanowski, in a statement.

As Brisbane-based Planet Ark Power has explained on RenewEconomy sister site One Step Off The Grid, eleXsys’ technology was developed to address the need to accommodate huge amounts of commercial and industrial rooftop solar (as well as other distributed energy resources) onto low voltage – and traditionally one-way – networks.

According to Planet Ark Power COO Jonathan Ruddick, the idea came from former senior electrical engineers on Queensland’s government-owned networks, who had watched as voltage instability issues started to arise from the first flush of residential solar installs in the Sunshine State.

The company sees its participation in the Adelaide Ikea microgrid as the culmination of seven years of work developing a grid integration solution that manages two-way flows of energy by making smarter use of existing electricity infrastructure.

The $6.6 million first stage of the microgrid, which is being developed in conjunction with the South Australian government, SA Power Networks and Epic Energy, will install 1.2MW of solar on the rooftop of Ikea Adelaide and a 3MW/3.4MWh OilPower CATL lithium-ion battery storage system.

The solar and storage system will be managed through a combination of Schneider Electrics’ smart energy management software and, on the grid-connected side, Planet Ark Power’s award-winning eleXsys dynamic voltage control platform, the hardware for which will be housed in a 20 foot container.

“Planet Ark Power’s unique eleXsys energy management system is the critical link that makes the Ikea, grid-connected microgrid project so innovative and world leading,” said Ruddick, at the time of the project’s launch in October 2020.

“Our eleXsys technology solution functions to ensure certainty of revenue streams from the export of surplus solar energy and grid stability services into the grid without the risk of curtailment by electricity network operators.”


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