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Ukrainian startup VAR.energy allowing solar plants to boost profits raises angel investment

The founder of YouScan, Alexey Orap, has become an angel investor for the Ukrainian startup VAR.energy that is working to create a system boosting income from solar power plants (SPP). The amount of investment has not been disclosed.

According to a commentary by Orap, VAR.energy installs an add-on controller on an existing SPP, which makes it possible to sell to electrical grid operators the so-called “secondary services” for balancing reactive power.


How VAR.energy works

A photovoltaic power station, or solar farm, is solar panels plus a solar inverter converting the panels’ power output from DC to the familiar 220 V AC that can be fed to the utility grid.

In Ukraine, there is a “Green tariff” that allows SPP owners to sell surplus power to the common grid and get money from the operator: from 16.3 to 20 euro cents per 1 kW⋅h, depending on the station’s year of commissioning. This sum is subject to personal income tax and military tax.

VAR.energy equips the smart inverters already installed on the SPP with a small-sized controller with its own software to manage the inverters’ operating parameters, which allows the owner of the SPP to sell to electrical grid operators the so-called “secondary services” for balancing reactive power.

“Aside from this being a really cool idea that allows SPP owners to make more money without any extra investment (thus, raising the financial appeal of building new solar farms), this also gives electrical grid operators more flexibility in terms of performance management and helps to smooth out imbalances,” Orap points out.

Profit from VAR.energy installation

According to Alexey Orap, after installing the VAR.energy controller, owners of solar power plants will be able to earn 15 percent more profits from electricity sales without increasing the capacity of the power plant itself.

“In a few words, VAR.energy is “Airbnb for renewable energy.” We take an existing unused resource and make it generate profits. Simply put, it works the following way: Let’s say you own a medium-sized solar plant (for example, on the roof of a supermarket) or a large one (commercial SPP). So, with the help of VAR.energy technology, you can earn up to 15% more with the help of your SPP without making any additional investments,” he said.

Startup team

  • Nick Turchak, a CEO, brings extensive experience from his demand-side flexibility & energy storage management systems consulting work, as well as proficiency in hands-on electrical engineering, software, business development, and international energy markets. He worked in startups and scaleups since 2008 in the USA, Europe, and Africa.
  • Denys Popov, a CTO, a high-availability and edge computing software architect with extensive knowledge and experience in full-stack software development for various industries. He has worked in startups and scaleups since 2006 and was in the leading technical positions at Viewdle (acquired by Google in 2013), Ring Ukraine (acquired by Amazon), etc.
  • Viktor Khomenko is a renewable energy and power grids specialist.
  • Kathryn Briskie brings more than 7 years of experience in product management and development in data and software platform products in the energy sector. She also has extensive knowledge of the European power market and regulations. International energy market experience in the USA, Europe, and Russia.

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