In a consortium led by authentic. network, three German start-ups have come together to make efficient solar panels 'intelligent' by attaching a sticker – an innovative symbiosis unique worldwide.
FREMONT, CA: A sticker sports a green tick to turn a solar panel into a smart module. A digital system twin is encoded in the sticker, delivering personalised value-added services via the customer's smartphone, all without complicated registration and login procedures. The Chemnitz-based start-up technology authentic.network makes this possible. Together with two other start-ups, Torwell and Syscore, and operating under the aegis of Q-Hub Innovation Incubator, authentic. network takes over the development of smart technology, offering tangible added value to homeowners with solar installations and service companies.
Swiss solar module manufacturer Meyer Burger opens its new factory in Freiberg to produce the world's highest-yield solar panels. The next generation of solar modules will generate up to 20 percent more energy from the same square metre of roof surface, offering real added value to customers and service companies through an app.
Gunter Erfurt, CEO of Meyer Burger, says, “Just as intelligent multi cookers today have their own recipes and mix all the ingredients together perfectly, we concluded that it must also be possible for a solar panel to provide customers with more than just electricity. We wanted useful digital services and information delivered readily and conveniently via an app.”
“We create a digital twin of the solar panel in which the access data is stored,” explains Frank Theeg, Co-CEO of technology start-up authentic.network. “The smartphone app with the green tick is the key by means of which the customer controls the panel via the digital twin. The app offers additional services around the solar panel, including a solar calculator, a smart search function to help end customers find an installer and an engineer access feature.”
The panel owner can order repairs or replacement service within seconds by pressing a button. Until now, the process has been much more complicated and time-consuming: the customer must call the installer, specify the nature of the defect, complete a complaint form, arrange a replacement appointment, etc.
“All time-consuming things that no one likes to do because no one profits from them either,” adds Theeg. “Our technology reduces this to a ‘one touch’ procedure, completed within seconds and without tiresome logins. It represents a completely new kind of service promise, and more services are due to follow.”
The new one-touch services are not only user-friendly for customers but also attractive for manufacturers; as Frank Theeg explains: “What we have done transforms a manufacturer from a mere industrial producer to a technology partner. This generates new revenue streams and, last but not least, results in significantly higher valuations when raising capital.”