Alongside the discussion of de-carbonizing after Fukushima back in 2011/12, the question of what could be done for the energy future in Switzerland and around the world was also raised. That’s why Sandra Trittin, Stéphane Dufour and Frédéric Gastaldo, established Swiss-based tiko Energy Solutions in 2012 to tackle this challenge by working towards a new energy future. The idea was to combine their knowledge of algorithms, AI, and machine-to-machine systems to create a solution for managing decentralized assets in order to control demand with regard to fluctuations in the increasing renewable energy supply.
“Energy is an important element of our daily lives. We use it everywhere and all the time for light, cooking, at work, for charging laptops, etc. By working in this industry it is possible to influence our future energy usage and behaviour, and therefore also improve our daily lives,” says Sandra Trittin, Co-founder and Head of Sales & Business Dev. at tiko Energy Solutions.
“Energy is an important element of our daily lives. By working in this industry it is possible to influence our future energy usage and behaviour, and therefore also making it better in our daily lives.”
For them, it was clear that the energy turnaround is driven not only by industry stakeholders but foremost by each individual and their behaviour and consumption. Thus they built tiko around the mantra, ‘Together we’re stronger – The energy revolution needs to come from the people, for the people’.Their solution aims at providing value on different levels of society: for the end-customer to allow energy optimisation and savings, on an industry level with the aggregated flexibility of assets to provide services like a conventional power plant but in a more green way, and for communities and societies to support de-carbonisation and digitalization.
In essence, tiko develops solutions for the international cleantech industry, focusing on distributed energy resources and their management for residential and commercial customers with behind-the-meter assets.
With their platform, tiko offers three major elements for value creation with any kind of behind-the-meter assets (like batteries, EV-chargers, solar, heating/cooling, water tanks, etc.):
Virtual Power Plant aggregation and operation for different monetization possibilities,
Energy Management Functionalities for owners of the assets to increase customer engagement and create savings,
Community solutions as a possibility to improve local energy consumption and energy sharing to strengthen customer engagement while delivering value to society.
Trittin tells more, “With our projects, we deliver value for the partner company which is usually a utility or asset supplier. We provide them with a hardware and software solution to connect assets from their end-customers either as retro-fit or with new deployments, for example of EV-chargers, batteries, or heating systems. Connecting the assets allows them to be monitored and controlled. Often they are aggregated into a so-called “Virtual Power Plant” providing all different kinds of energy and/or grid services to the partner company. At the same time, we provide Energy Management Functionality which the partner can offer to their end-customers.
Examples of such functionality include improving self-consumption, optimizing energy usage for savings, and increasing comfort in the home. The value of energy sharing and local consumption can now additionally be used for community-based optimisation. Providing these elements is the basis of new and innovative business models which bring our partners to a new level of revenue generation while at the same time improving energy usage of residential and commercial customers.”
Partners recognize tiko as a revolutionary solution to smart grid technology:
“The unique technology developed by tiko will enable us to create new services for our residential customers and move towards building of decentralized energy communities. It effectively completes our portfolios of load-balancing and storage solutions, which are so crucial to achieving the energy transition.” – Yves Le Gélard, Chief Digital Officer, ENGIE Group.
“With tiko Energy Solutions we leverage the sonnenBatterie’s contribution to a decentralised energy supply based on the idea of Blockchain. This enables us to create added value for our customers.”- Benjamin Schott, Director of Business Development, sonnen GmbH.
“Our customers are impressed by the tiko solution. For EKS, tiko offered a significant step forward in customer engagement. By using tiko, EKS gained an innovative and eco-friendly company image in public opinion.”- Daniel Clauss, Head of Sales and Distribution, EKS.
“With tiko, we offer our customers a solution for optimizing their PV Self-Consumptions. An example: With the tiko solution, we have successfully implemented a project for the central control of e-charging stations in a typical low-voltage network.”- Lenchner, Project Manager, EVN.
Sandra Trittin, Co-founder, tiko Energy Solutions.
Largely, the company has successfully differentiated itself from the sea of otherwise-indistinguishable smart grid service providers: With its active VPP deployments, tiko is one of the biggest real-time smart grids in the world. Their customizable, future-proof technology has the life-expectancy of a physical power plant and enables the delivery of the full spectrum of energy services, including the most sophisticated such as fast frequency response. Furthermore, tiko is the only company whichhas its platform certified by 3 European transmission grid operators and has been running its daily operations since 2013. Tiko fulfills the highest security standards which are also applicable to nuclear power stations, being one of the key characteristics for bundling and aggregation of distributed energy resources in the future. With more than 100 MW in residential assets connected, tiko has extensive operational experience and also delivers support to its partners within business case modelling, customer acquisition, and installation roll-out and customer support. With the possibility to read and control assets within 1 second or less, the solution offers all kinds of opportunities for new business models.
Not that their journey has been any easy. In order to provide such services to its partners, tiko pushes its own boundaries to offer cutting-edge solutions. “At the beginning, the main challenge was with the technical solution. There was a lot of doubt as to whether a pool of thousands of electrical heating systems could provide the same services as conventional power plants when it came to speed and reliability. In the meantime, this has changed and there is enough trust in technology, but implementing it with end-customers requires new ways of creating business cases and value propositions. With our experience, we are supporting our partners at this stage as well as during roll-out to minimize this hurdle.” This is achieved by a highly performant and creative team at tiko who has spent several years devoting themselves to the energy industry. What sets them apart is their deep knowledge paired with an international diversity that helps to bring a more global perspective to the solutions they design, giving their clients the opportunity to reach a wider base of potential key demographics. “We have employees of more than 15 different nationalities. Due to this cultural diversification, we bring different insights, thoughts, and mindsets together, which pushes each solution to its best and takes all kinds of challenges and opportunities into consideration. In addition, it makes it exciting and fulfilling to work with all the different cultural and personal backgrounds, challenging and further developing yourself every day,” says Trittin.
The company is committed to delivering technologies that enable the energy transition. At tiko, they strive to make the future of decentral energy as good as conventional power plants and perfectly integrated in day to day lives of the end-users.In 2019, the French energy company ENGIE became tikoʼs main stakeholder, supporting tiko’s further growth on the international market. Looking ahead, the company is planning to expand itself in emerging markets such as e-mobility; and has therefore started with its first projects in this field.
This Trittin says is imperative, “If we don’t do it who else should? There is no other planet Earth and we have the chance to influence and improve the future now.”