The company from Reunion Island has developed innovative techniques for forecasting solar irradiance for photovoltaic power plants, which have earned it contracts all over the world.
A few weeks ago, Reuniwatt signed a contract with Enel Green Power, the world’s third largest producer of photovoltaic electricity. Reuniwatt’s 20 employees had already convinced Terna, the Italian electricity distributor, and the Brazilian municipality of Oiapoque, in the Amazon region, which is supplied with electricity from solar power. The company recently equipped a 300-megawatt power plant in California and is involved in the Noor project, a concentrated solar power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Ensuring smooth operations
Reuniwatt’s know-how: Forecasting the sunshine above the power plants, and therefore their production curve. These forecasts improve the chances of producers seeing their energy injected into the networks, and therefore getting paid as planned, and avoid load shedding for those who consume their own electricity. The irradiance data, compared to the actual production, also makes it possible to control whether the installations are working properly.
Reuniwatt was founded ten years ago by Nicolas Schmutz, an energy engineer who had just taken part in the launch of several power plants on Reunion Island. His small team quickly acquired an unprecedented expertise, developing tools for observing the sky, methods for analyzing satellite data and weather forecasting models. In 2014, Albioma put its trust in him and the start-up equipped its first solar power plant on the roof of a Reunionese shopping mall. Having previously relied on a laboratory at the island’s university, Nicolas Schmutz now began recruiting engineers and opened an office in Paris, while mobilizing all possible innovation support systems.
Admission to the French Tech 120
Ten years after its creation, the company’s turnover has exceeded one million euros. “We have a technological lead protected by four international patents, but we are not resting on our laurels,” he says. Today, Reuniwatt is relying on artificial intelligence to extract the quintessence of its computer calculations. The company’s founder is delighted to have been admitted to the French Tech 120 list at the beginning of the year. It gives him significant visibility at a time when he must convince financiers and investors to support his growth, even if it has been seriously slowed down by the global crisis. But for Nicolas Schmutz, there is no question of leaving his base in Reunion. In Saint-Pierre, in the south of the island, his team of engineers will continue to work just a stone’s throw from the beach.
This is a translated version of the article “Reuniwatt multiplie les contrats dans la prévision solaire” written by Bernard Grollier.
It was first published in lesechos.fr on 04/11/2020.
About Reuniwatt (www.reuniwatt.com)
Reuniwatt is a major player of the solar radiation and cloud cover assessment and forecasting. Based on solid Research and Development works, the company offers reliable products and services intended for professionals of various fields, making the best out of two key facets of the meteorology: atmospheric physics and data sciences.
The company has won many grants, including H2020’s SME Phase 1 programme, which makes Reuniwatt a European Champion with regards to innovation. Reuniwatt has also been selected among the national fast-growing companies to join the prestigious French Tech 120 programme in January 2020.