A Belfast-based company has created ground-breaking software that is set to revolutionise the renewable energy sector by using sophisticated data-based analysis to cut electricity costs.
The Electric Storage Company (TESC), located at Innovation Factory on the Springfield Road, has developed PARIS Greentech (Predictive Analytical Renewables System) a new smart software system that works with renewable energy to maximise efficiency.
Eddie McGoldrick, director of TESC, said: “Data is valuable and never more so than in the chaos the market is experiencing at the moment. This software can analyse a domestic or commercial customer’s usage to help predict future consumption. It not only looks at this but also at external factors such as weather to then make a decision on what action to take to get the best use out of the green electricity generated.”
Used alongside solar panels or wind turbines and a battery for storage, the software builds up a profile of customer use to automatically make a choice of whether to use any green energy created immediately, store it for future use or even sell excess electricity back to the national grid.
Chris Doherty, TESC programme manager, explained that the new software is modelled on Fintech analytical systems.
He explained: “Northern Ireland and Ireland are way ahead of the game in both the renewable energy sector and in Fintech. The grid in Ireland and Northern Ireland is currently absorbing more renewable energy than any other developed country in the world. We have so many wind farms and buildings with solar panels around the country but we needed to marry that with smart technology. We looked at what Fintech software did – analyse masses of data in order to make fast decisions easily – and knew we could go down the same route with electricity.”
TESC developed the new system in partnership with AquaQ Analytics, a Belfast-based data and software company that provides services to the financial sector, including global investment banks. The aim of the new system is to make it easier for domestic and commercial customers to use renewable energy to save money.
“We all have our part to play to get to Net Zero but people won’t be able to move towards this unless we make it easy. Once the solar panels and battery are installed people don’t have to change their behaviour to have access to clean, cheaper green energy,” Mr Doherty continued.
Mr McGoldrick added: “It can be compared to how mobile phone technology revolutionised communication. The smartphone has replaced letter writing and landline phone calls but the technology had to be really simple for people to embrace it.”
The company continually looks to new ways to do this and for commercial customer, the PARIS system enables them to share the electricity generated on one site with other buildings.
“It’s a big journey for companies and people to transition to a green, renewable source of energy. We all have to play our part to meet net zero targets. It will require everyone to embrace new technology. Systems like PARIS will help people get involved and take advantage of the opportunities that exist,” Mr Doherty said.
Since moving into the Innovation Factory in 2017, the company has increased staff levels by five-fold with plans to continue to grow as the renewable market develops further.
Mr McGoldrick explained: “The flexibility of Innovation Factory was essential to us, especially when we first started so that we weren’t locked into a long lease. We also wanted a space that our team would love, as we are competing to get the very best staff. It’s a very creative and collaborative culture and within the community there are people providing services that we are able to use, including web, recruitment and delivery services.”
Shane Smith, engagement manager at Innovation Factory, concluded: “The Electric Storage Company is real success story, a company at the cutting edge of technology that will make a real difference to cutting carbon emissions and helping to address the climate crisis. It is a joy to see such advanced work taking place at Innovation Factory.”
Innovation Factory is owned by Belfast City Council and operated on their behalf by Oxford Innovation. The £9.1m business hub was funded by Belfast City Council and Invest NI with support from the European Regional Development Fund.