Meet Our First Energy Startup Cohort

Grid Catalyst is the only clean energy accelerator focused on project demonstration and deploying solutions for cold climates. With global investments in clean energy and climate technology at an all-time high, this program aims to establish Minnesota as a northern hub for energy innovation and late-stage startups looking to deploy.

“We are at a pivotal moment in building the next generation of the energy system,” said Nina Axelson, founder of Grid Catalyst. “Minnesota is well-positioned to be a cold-climate technology hub, attracting innovators and entrepreneurs to team up with our energy leaders in the public and private sector to deploy groundbreaking climate solutions. The five exceptional startups in our inaugural cohort will use this platform to demonstrate cutting-edge technologies with potential for global impact.”

Partnerships Key to Showcases, Investment, and Growth

All projects are being deployed in Minnesota, in partnership with clean energy leaders from across the state known as the Innovators Network.

The Innovators Network is made up of utilities, higher education, Fortune 500 businesses, nonprofits, and local governments. Through their partnership with startups, members gain access to novel technologies that can solve system and customer challenges, as well as exemplify their commitment to accelerating clean energy deployment, strengthening regional economic development, and taking action on climate change.

These demonstration projects are a critical step in the development process for these startups. Proving out their technology in real-world applications will attract investors and new customers, with long-term potential for manufacturing partnerships and regional job growth. Accelerated energy ventures also access nearly twice as much financing, earn 50% higher revenue growth, and average 16% more full-time hires.

“We are honored to be selected for the Grid Catalyst inaugural cohort. As a clean energy startup in hard tech, demonstration projects are key to showing the market how well our technology performs and that it is viable at scale. Working with the University of Minnesota and Otter Tail Power, through this accelerator program, is an exciting opportunity for us to advance geothermal heating and cooling alternatives that aren’t dependent on fossil fuels, which can be more challenging in the upper Midwest,” said Brian Larson, Darcy Solutions CEO.

The cohort includes companies hailing from Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Washington.

“We are very excited to be participating in the Grid Catalyst program to demonstrate the significant impact of our high-ROI low-carbon window retrofit technology on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of existing buildings in Minnesota,” said Anas Al Kassas, INOVUES Founder and CEO. “We are honored to be selected by 3M and other leading local institutions to install our non-invasive insulating glass retrofits this year.”

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Innovative Startups Ready to Demonstrate and Deploy

The five startups were selected for their impressive financial and technical approach, representing a wide range of promising technologies, including long-duration battery storage, geothermal, grid modernization, energy efficiency, and software promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

Darcy Solutions – Headquartered in Minnesota

Darcy Solutions’ patent-pending geothermal solution addresses the two biggest challenges for geothermal/ground source heating and cooling – cost and footprint. Their demonstration partners are Otter Tail Power and the University of Minnesota, with a demonstration planned for the Morris campus.

Emerald Technologies Group – GetGreenHeadquartered in Washington

GetGreen from Emerald Technology is the mobile application for people and companies that want to help solve the climate crisis, by helping to find local, sustainable options for travel, transportation, food, goods and services. They will be working with Ecolibrium3 in Duluth, Minnesota to conduct a pilot study, using this mobile application platform in support of the local climate action plan.

INOVUES – Headquartered in Texas

INOVUES’ patented Glazing Shield™ technology enables existing building facades to be retrofitted with the latest energy-saving and smart glass innovations without removal, replacement, or disruption. INOVUES has been selected by 3M to install their non-invasive insulating glass retrofits for a 2022 demonstration project in Maplewood, Minnesota.

Renew Power Systems, Inc. (RPSI) – Headquartered in Minnesota

RPSI has developed a patented inverter technology that can form, connect, and manage sustainable electrical grids. This novel approach can increase renewable integration and electricity access, while maintaining network stability and reliability. RPSI has been selected by Renewable Energy Partners to demonstrate this grid-forming technology at the Regional Apprenticeship Training Center in North Minneapolis.

StorEn Technologies – Headquartered in New York

StorEn Technologies Inc. manufactures an innovative proprietary vanadium flow battery, which is a rechargeable flow battery technology. These batteries deliver a higher power density, enabling longer duration storage at a lower cost. StorEn has been selected by Connexus Energy for a potential demonstration project at its Ramsey headquarters.

All five projects are currently in the design and planning stages and expect to begin implementation in 2022. Additional cohort opportunities are slated to open later this year. Grid Catalyst is committed to creating more pathways for diverse founders in energy and is consulting with the Center for Economic Inclusion as we develop our strategies to ensure more equity and access for opportunities in clean energy for women and individuals identifying as Asian, Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, or Native American.

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