Another month another episode of Talk Energy with YES-Europe. This time we sat down and talked energy with Neeraj Dasila, CTO and Co-Founder of SmartHelio. SmartHelio is a Norwegian start-up that developed software and an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor that manages the performance of solar plants and panels in real-time, predicting, finding, and solving any possible problems.


Behind the scenes

Neeraj Dasila first started his journey in electrical engineering, and automotive cars and then moved on to the electrification of regions in India when, in 2019, he met his co-founder and friend Govinda Upadhyay. Govinda already owned a tech start-up educating on clean tech solar photovoltaics. Together they decided to take things to the next level and SmartHelio was born. They experimented with automated technologies and data until the final product came to life. 

Using their software they collect data from the existing solar assets and then run them on their own Machine Learning and AI models to predict unapplicable datasets. When data are non-existent or hard to find they leverage satellite imagery data and use them to triangulate the analysis. Essentially, SmartHelio provides a data genetic solution and technical insights on a real-time or periodic basis. 

The discussion continued with Neeraj talking about their second product, Helio Health, a cutting-edge computing device that embeds 4 to 5 sensors that capture high-precision reliable data. In order to provide monitoring solutions they acquire performance time series data from solar panels to get their overall performance profile and do a deeper diagnostic analysis on faults, problems, or issues. 

Fundamentals of Business

Further along, Neeraj shared how and from whom they managed to fund their evolutionary start-up where he mentioned that their funding comes from a pretty wide mix of investors. Most of the funding comes from Europe, while there is some amount coming from United States as well. So, they have YC investors, portfolio investors, and a couple of individuals who focus specifically on clean tech and environmental sustainability ideas. Of course, institutional investors could not be missing from SmartHelio’s mix. Neeraj pointed out that they, as a company, prefer to take investments that promote sustainability and enhancement of the environment. 

Challenges faced

The automation technology that SmartHelio has to offer seems to be so revolutionary that one of the greater challenges that they face right now is convincing the clients. Solar farm managers seem hesitant about utilizing the start-up’s solutions in parallel with their institutionalized systems. Another challenge is the misguided belief that peoples’ positions will be threatened if autopilot comes along. They don’t trust the software solution directly in order to see that they will eventually benefit from it, things that can delay sales. 

Geopolitics and Macroeconomic conditions interfering 

Supply chain interruption has been a key concern in the business world affecting every aspect of logistics. Neeraj admits that electronic and solar assets are in scarcity and the waiting periods are quite long in comparison to the past years and continues by saying that he thinks that the electronics shortage actually positively impacted SmarrHelio. He explained that this is due to the growing need, now more than ever, for companies to smarten their assets, and that is where SmartHelio comes in. Later on, he added that current geopolitical events have shifted focus to natively produced energy and renewables, like wind and solar, more than ever, positively affecting their business once again. Neeraj, also mentioned that even if a recession comes and economies take a hard hit, fundamental needs won’t be as affected. Households are gonna still run and energy demand will still have to be met, overall allowing room for cleantech to exist.

What to expect

In the future SmartHelio is going to try to enter the carbon market, looking for someone who will be able to build solutions around that. Ultimately, the company’s mission is to be able to offer life to the world, addressing climate change to its core. In 5 years SmartHelio will like to be called the brain of the entire energy ecosystem, but in a clean, sustainable, and cost-effective manner. 

In conclusion, it becomes clear that SmartHelio strongly supports clean energy through affordable automation technologies. The start-up aims to enhance impact and effectiveness by putting solar farms in autopilot and revolutionizing the renewable energy sector. 

Listen more of what Neeraj Dasila had to say on the full episode of our podcast using the link YES-Europe Podcast – Listen on Spotify – Linktree