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Market pulse – solar acquisitions; consultancy mergers; PFAS technology; clean-tech start-ups

Photograph of the Solar Analytics team

MARKET PULSE: Solar Analytics has boosted its offering to the residential sector, acquiring the residential tenant-focused solar start-up, Sun Tenants.

Sun Tenants developed a model to ensure that the one-third of Australians that rent their homes can benefit from the energy bill savings delivered by rooftop solar PV.

As many in the rental sector have noted, landlords have historically been reluctant to invest in solar PV for rental properties because the immediate financial benefit in terms of bill savings accrues to the tenant.

Conversely, lack of secure, long-term leases makes it unattractive for tenants to buy panels. There is no certainty they will receive a full return on their investment, and they gain no benefit from any property appreciation the panels generate.

Sun Tenants developed a calculator that helps negotiate a split incentive by calculating a fair rental increase that allows tenants to enjoy reduced energy bills, while landlords achieve a reasonable payback.

Solar Analytics has combined the calculator with its own monitoring and reporting capabilities and rebranded it as Solar for Tenants. It is pitching the package to solar retailers to help them broker deals with investment property owners.

It’s worth noting that state governments are starting to help renters benefit from solar power. Victoria and Queensland, for example, have grant programs that provide a significant cash splash towards the capex spend of installing panels on a rental property.

Edge expands its reach

Sustainability consultancy Edge Environmental has merged with Adelaide-based Seed Consulting Services. The combined company will operate under the Edge flag, and the merger gives the B Corp entity a staff total of 30 across four office locations – the Sydney HQ, Melbourne, Santiago in Chile and now Adelaide.

Dr Mark Siebentritt, Director of Seed, has been appointed Edge’s South Australia Director.

“Stronger than the sum of our parts, we’re also now better placed than ever to extend our reach, both within Australia and into new markets overseas,” Dr Siebentritt said.

Edge chief executive Jonas Bengtsson said the last 12 months have seen a “step-change in the level of activity and ambition” in the sustainability services market with increased public concern around climate change and the emergence of influencers such as the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

“Bringing Seed into the Edge family ensures that we are even better placed to support our clients as they respond to these drivers and rapidly transition to more sustainable business models,” he said.

In addition to growing services for its strong core client sectors in property and infrastructure, the consultancy is aiming to develop new business areas in the food and retail sectors.

EnergyLab welcomes four new start-ups

EnergyLab’s sixth intake of start-ups for its accelerator program has been announced, with four entrepreneurial clean-tech ideas to get a boost.

They come from around the country and include Perth-based Amotus, which specialises in new methods for inspecting and delivering data on renewable energy assets through a combination of unmanned aerial vehicles, high-res imaging and infrared thermography.

There are two from Queensland – Seed 2 Diesel, which provides a service to assist oil seed growers to use their own produce to replace diesel, and Tenon Energy, a provider of asset management, control, and optimisation systems for commercial and industrial buildings’ solar and storage systems.

Melbourne-based Exergenics is applying digital twin techniques and machine learning to deliver improved control systems for commercial building air conditioning equipment, which will improve energy efficiency and cut costs.

“After spending the last year promoting the opportunities at the intersection of the building and energy sectors we’re excited to see so many great smart building start-ups in this cohort” EnergyLab chief executive James Tilbury said.

“The diversity and quality of entrepreneurs entering this industry continues to excite and challenge us.”

EnergyLab’s next accelerator program is due to start in February 2020 and is accepting applications until 7 November, 2019. Get full details and make your pitch here.

Arcadis ink deal with Evocra

Global consulting firm Arcadis has signed a Heads of Agreement with Australian-based water treatment company Evocra and entered into an exclusive commercial negotiation period for sole global rights to its technology for cleaning up toxic PFAS chemicals.

Evocra developed a remediation technology that uses ozone fractionation to separate and concentrate PFAS chemicals, which include perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid, from soil, water or other mediums.

It has been demonstrated at commercial scale at a fire training facility in New South Wales and was found to deliver treated water that was well below the US EPA benchmarks for drinking water.

The Evocra process draws on the science of how sea foam is created during storms, and on the technologies used in the aquarium industry to remove contaminants from water.

Arcadis is confident the technology will strengthen the firm’s offer of a suite of PFAS solutions.

“Evocra and their treatment process provides our clients with an innovative solution to cost-effectively remove a complex contaminant from their assets and improve our environment,” said Malcolm McDowall, chief executive Australia Pacific, Arcadis.

“When the Evocra technology is coupled with either Arcadis-developed or other commercially available destructive technologies, we will have the ability to offer our clients a zero-waste outcome.”

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