Shifted Energy, Inc.
What is the name of your solution?
Grid Maestro Software Platform
Provide a one-line summary of your solution.
We make buildings grid-interactive so that managers and residents can benefit economically from supporting the electric grid and reduce GHG emissions
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
In the US, there are major inequities in the distribution of costs and benefits within the energy system, and low income families, which represent a total of 47.5 million people and are largely headed by racial or ethnic minorities, spend a disproportionate share of their income on home energy costs. Without thoughtful intervention, the benefits of federal and state clean energy investment, like benefit programs and access to clean energy, will not be spread equitably. Today, almost all rebate and tax credit programs are focused on rooftop solar, home batteries, and EVs, which leaves out low income communities that are not able to make the investment in these technologies.
What is your solution?
Shifted Energy makes multi-family buildings and communities grid-interactive so that they can participate in utility programs, reduce energy and GHG emissions, and monitor their electric assets. We connect building managers to energy providers to introduce energy efficiency and smart energy products, and/or we equip electric assets in their buildings, such as water heaters and heat pumps, with Shifted Energy CTA-2045 smart controllers to convert them into smart, grid-interactive assets. All these assets are then aggregated, monitored and managed by Shifted Energy’s software platform – Grid Maestro – to provide energy efficiency and demand response services to electric utilities, and monitor asset health. The “smart, grid-interactive buildings” can participate in local energy programs to drive ongoing revenue and reduce electric bills for the property managers and the tenants. This is an excellent opportunity for low income communities as there’s no investment required from their side to participate in these programs. Our platform aggregates all the local grid-interactive buildings to create a “virtual power plant” which is orchestrated with advanced machine learning to maximize property manager and tenant benefits while supporting the electric grid. In specific, we allow electric utilities to use our solution for peak load reduction and renewable energy storage, among other services that help balance the grid and adopt more renewable energy. Peak periods often coincide with high-GHG-emitting peaker plant operations. Shifting loads off peak negates the need for peaker plants and reduces emissions from that period. At the same time, increasing load above baseline during renewable generation periods reduces load during non-renewable periods and decreases renewable curtailment.
Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?
Our target market installations are underserved LMI and front-line communities. Our minority, indigenous, and lower-socio economic families are disproportionately represented in these communities. The participating families can get direct bill credits, or energy efficiency measures to help lower their bills and get the ability to help drive more renewable energy utilization driving overall costs down over time. We are founded by Olin Lagon, a Native Hawaiian, and we uniquely target these markets when we have the agency to do so. The vast majority of, if not all of the current energy benefits are tied to high-income homeowners and businesses (solar, battery, electric cars, efficiency upgrades, etc.). Our indigenous and front-line communities are often completely locked out of this benefit ecosystem, transferring millions of dollars of benefits to the most wealthy families. To get a sense of how incredibly unjust energy rebates are, just go to your local energy rebate partner and search for solutions that might apply to renters. Then search for what applies to homeowners and calculate just what kind of chasm exists...everywhere. Well over 95% of our installations in Hawaii for instance are in these target communities including Native Hawaiian homelands (closest to indigenous reservations). We are now replicating this model across the U.S. and starting up in Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe. We are also pushing our clients to see the merit in the following suit to target our preferred communities. It is the right thing to do but also our platform scales well in these communities. Some communities will also benefit in ancillary ways. For instance, a remote indigenous community reliant on diesel generators suffer from toxic exhaust. By leveraging our platform and shifting some loads to times when indigenous renewable resources are available, less diesel needs to be burnt. Our latest project targeting indigenous communities was the launch of a virtual power plant with 50% more efficient heat pump water heaters to provide energy efficiency and grid services. We partnered with Hawaii Energy to install smart heat pump water heaters for free in 20 homes of an indigenous community in Waimanalo, Hawaii. This will directly impact the electric bill of these families.
How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Well over 95% of our installations in Hawaii are in low income communities, including Native Hawaiian homelands (closest to indigenous reservations). We have recruited more than 3,000 participants on Maui and Oahu to participate in utility programs with Hawaiian Electric. This experience has allowed us to learn the needs of our indigenous community as well as engage them as we develop our solution. Olin Lagon, Indigenous Hawaiian, Co-Founder & CTO at Shifted Energy, and our team lead, has worked with over a dozen indigenous communities directly across the United States including Hawaiian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Micronesian, and Samoan communities. He was a past executive of the Intertribal Information Technology Alliance LLC which had 13 members (1 Hawaiian, 2 Alaska Native Village Corporations, 10 American Indian Tribes). The group grew to tens of millions in revenue with hundreds of indigenous staff that worked in digitization. Olin is the Co-Founder and Forest Frizzell, Co-Founder & CEO at Shifted Energy, is the Board President of Purple Maia Foundation, a non-profit serving Native Hawaiians whose mission is to educate and empower the next generation of culturally grounded, community serving technology makers and problem solvers. We both practice centuries old farming techniques in the growing of kalo (taro) in an effort to revitalize the practice of growing and consuming ancestral foods, along with honoring the engineering practices of those same ancestors.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Honolulu, HI, USA
Our solution's stage of development:Growth
How many people does your solution currently serve?
More than 5,000 people across 26 buildings
Why are you applying to Solve?
We need support in terms of strategy and development to scale our business.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Who is the Team Lead for your solution?
Olin Lagon, Co-Founder & CTO
Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.
Kānaka Maoli (Indigenous Hawaiian)
Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?
Strengthen sustainable energy sovereignty and support climate resilience initiatives by and for Indigenous peoples.
What makes your solution innovative?
We have taken the time to build our technology from the ground up, prioritizing customer experience and satisfaction as a core bias in our algorithms and business model. Our machine learning capabilities are industry-leading, and we have built a data engine that can ingest and aggregate data from any hardware type, communications type, and asset type. We normalize that data and provide accurate forecasting, grid services, Time-of-Use (TOU), demand charge management, and other ancillary services. Our differentiators include the low-cost, scalable VPP software platform and smart controllers. Unlike our competitors, we offer low upfront cost controls with flexible communications and an asset-flexible, SaaS virtual power plant that scales rapidly with utility programs. The platform can work with any asset radio type (cellular, LoRaWAN, etc.) and communications protocol (OpenADR, RestAPI, CTA-2045, etc.). Our goal is to make it easy for our customers to adopt our technology so that our impact can be rapidly expanded to more communities.
What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?
Impact starts internally. Our mission is to attract and hire a diverse team. We have enacted policy and metrics to make diverse hiring practices a core practice. With diversity comes unique life experience, voice, agency, and importantly unique voices. Our goal is to continue to advocate on behalf of LMI utility customers. We are working with our customers to build equity and access into their utility programs. An example of this is the Waimanalo Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) program. We are working in partnership with the state energy efficiency manager to bring HPWHs to indigenous communities. HPWH are 50% more efficient than electric water heaters so this means lower bills, but we also ensure they are “smart” meaning we can monitor and control the asset to enroll them in demand response programs so the families can receive additional electric bill credits. Our goal over the next year is to scale this in other states like California who have earmarked millions of dollars of grant funding to replace gas water heaters with heat pumps. Over the course of the next five years, the electrification of residential assets will start to take shape. We aim to influence decision makers using data, metrics, and storytelling to make those assets “smart” bringing ROI to the entire ecosystem.
How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?
Our solution has scaled to thousands of low income families completely ignored by prior benefits programs. By partnering with organizations to upgrade assets into more efficient, electric ones, or by using what the families already have installed, like electric water heaters, and working with property managers we are bringing an entirely new mix of energy benefits and energy capacity into the market. We started in Hawaii but now have expanded to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Continental US, Portugal, and Spain.
What is your theory of change?
Shifted Energy's purpose is to address energy inequity and make electricity more affordable for low income and indigenous communities. We do that by providing a low-cost, scalable virtual power plant software platform and smart controllers to make it easy for our customers to adopt our technology, so that our impact can be rapidly expanded to more communities. We also develop pilot programs, and share results and its benefits, so that we can incentivize more customers to work with low income and indigenous communities. Finally, we help recruit low income and indigenous communities to agree to participate in utility programs by educating them on the economical benefits as well as the impact they have as individuals in the clean energy transition.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Shifted Energy’s cloud-based software platform Grid Maestro® converts any water heater, pool pump, EVSE, battery or other demand side load into an intelligent, grid interactive asset capable of providing demand response, energy storage, and fast frequency response. Our machine learning algorithms create device-specific consumption models that allow for accurate seven-day ahead forecasts of consumption and available load shift capability. We have also developed low-cost, highly-scalable cellular IoT controllers that can work with any controlled load.
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?
A new technology
How do you know that this technology works?
We are beyond the testing phase, and our solution is globally deployed. Our current business development pipeline is selling the exact technology stack we just talked about. We have worked with 4 national labs on advanced controls and machine learning which include EPRI, NREL , The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma. Our software is deployed and manages systems across multiples states in the US and countries across the globe.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
In which states do you currently operate?
In which states will you be operating within the next year?
What type of organization is your solution team?
For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
9 people working full time, including the two founders. 3 people working part-time.
How long have you been working on your solution?
What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?
Equal opportunity for us is more than just words. We are currently 35% female and 60% BIPOC with goals to further increase the diversity of our company. We are also committed to company lokahi (unity/harmony) meaning Shifted Energy, as a company, promoting the welfare of others through donations of funds or time. Ensuring that our business and its practices enhance our community is an integral part of how our company conducts business, and is therefore, integrated into our work rather than an extraneous effort or activity.
What is your business model?
We are a software as a service company with hardware partners for turnkey solutions. We get paid for providing load shifting at the MW scale. We have two primary customers with unique and intersecting value streams. With utilities and grid operators, we provide decentralized load control at competitive costs due to these assets already being funded and grid-connected by property owners. With aggregators and program developers, we can scale programs with rate paying occupants who get load shifting benefits (financial and social) for no inconvenience. Beyond customers, we also have two groups that derive tremendous value from our solution. For property managers, they get machine learning-driven maintenance insights to help lower operating costs. And for utility regulators, we provide a realistic pathway to scale support in underserved communities.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?Organizations (B2B)
What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?
Selling products and services, and raising investment capital.
Olin Lagon Co-Founder & CTO, Shifted Energy