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A SOLAR URBAN HUB with integrated lighting and information system for optimal Smart Cities efficiency

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - THE SOLAR URBAN HUB (A SOLAR URBAN HUB with integrated lighting and information system for optimal Smart Cities efficiency)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-09-01 do 2019-01-31

Nowadays more than 70% of the EU population live in cities and urban areas. City and resource management is a critical issue for Municipalities. Ensuring traffic flows, low pollution levels, and sustainable activity is currently a challenge with no unique integrated monitoring system. The lack of common standards and interoperable solutions and the risk of fragmentation have been acknowledged by the European Commission as major challenges to the deployment and exploitation of the IoT potential. Europe is playing a leading role in driving the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources. Existing street lighting solutions, which do not offer the smart and renewable energy functionalities of the Solar Urban HUB, are heavily impacting on the inefficiency of our cities. For these reasons, finding innovative, integrated energy solutions for the urban environment that support the EU’s transformation towards a low-carbon society is at its heart in order to achieve a cleaner and zero CO2 emission society.

Smart Cities have the potential to enhance the urban environment, improve the quality of life for residents and enable sustainable growth and development. There is a wealth of information available through IoT assets; however, there is no available solution that actively exploits this information for more efficient Smart Cities.

Approximately 19.6 million 1930s High-pressure sodium (HPS) yellow streetlights in Europe are still in operation today. Of the energy they consume, 90% is wasted as heat, with only 10% converted to light. These areas have a potential for up to 50% energy savings by adopting the latest technologies. In addition, these lights have a strong negative impact on the environment emitting 11 million tonnes of CO2 in Europe, equivalent to 2.4 million additional cars annually. Space and energy is needed throughout a city for data collection and to set up new networks. Existing smart lighting or renewable solutions have simply attached sensors or photovoltaics directly onto the lighting “pole” producing unattractive street furniture. The exposure of all sensors also increases the risk of failure due to poor weather, vandalism etc.

The Solar Hub is a new grid connected concept of smart urban furniture which converts LED street lighting into an IoT enabling smart city tool. The Solar Hub belongs to the new generation of Cradle to Cradle zero CO2 emissions products entirely powered by the Sun. It is a new concept of solar streetlight that enables a platform for IoT devices that allows innovative business models for Smart Cities.

Apart from the above mentioned IoT system, the Solar Urban HUB can integrate various kinds of sensors and communication devices designed for Smart Cities, which can be tailored at the request of the client. All data gathered by the Hub is communicated via the cloud to the user dashboard from where the various information can be monitored and actions taken, e.g. turning on/off the lights themselves. The enabling of any IoT device through the Hub optimises the Smart City environment. The Hub can be utilised to improve traffic flows, monitor urban temperatures and pollution, optimise energy usage and inform citizens on road diversions and parking availability among others.

The overall objectives of the project were to develop a market assessment identifying the growth drivers and the market opportunities in order to define our TAM (Total Addressable Market). A competition analysis was also required to understand the current offer and to enhance our value proposition for the potential customers. Our Go-to-market strategy was a result of the previous analysis as we were able to define precisely USP, strategy to reach our potential customers, pricing and marketing actions. Pilot trials were defined as an opportunity to test the solution in real environment as well as to increase credibility among the target clients. Another objective was to set up a detailed plan for large-scale manufacturing of the product. This required a deep analysis of the supply chain to identify strategic alliances with key suppliers in order to develop an assembly line for the Solar Urban HUB. Finally we deepened into the financial analysis of the project, to define the investments required in engineering, manufacturing, marketing and commercialization to launch the final product.
MARKET ASSESSMENT, COMPETITION ANALYSIS AND MARKETING STRATEGY

Regulations about reducing carbon footprint in the environment are rising and reinforcing the use of renewable resources. In many countries, the government provides financial support and subsidies for using clean energy. Fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, used for providing conventional energy, are being exhausted quickly. These are some examples of growth drivers that evolve to the solar energy.

The Solar Urban HUB has two versions to meet the needs of two different markets. The stand-alone version that does not require connection to electric grid and is oriented to the market of new installations. And the Hybrid version (Stand-alone and grid connected), oriented to the retrofitting market, where we have an existent electric grid. The global market size for the Solar Urban HUB then is the proportion correspondent to stand-alone plus the grid connected markets. The global solar street lighting market size is forecasted to grow at 21.2% CAGR until 2023, resulting in very potential market.

SIARQ is targeting Telecom, IT service providers, Utilities and Energy Service Companies (ESCO) as customers who will act as distributors of Solar Urban HUB to end users. In particular, these big corporations provide Global Solution for Smart Cities to end users and are interested to include in their portfolio Solar Urban HUB as part of their solutions.

Three main classifications were defined to analyze our competitors based on design and Smart City integration. Other attributes such as being solar, performance, price and maintenance were also key concepts of our evaluation. Solar Urban HUB offers the best ratio of all desired features; cost-effectiveness, performance and aesthetic design, that allows IoT sensors integration for Smart Cities.

Solar Urban HUB solution will be marketed through the platform Rethinkthecity.org by inviting the Smart Cities ecosystem to join SIARQ and talking about new business models for the cities of tomorrow. The marketing plan includes selling pilot installations to both, Global Solution for Smart Cities companies and End Users. Marketing actions in the sector are planned to reach our target customers.

The sales roadmap starts in the European market of some countries selected strategically. Pricing of the product depends on various factors such as versions, quantities and customizations (specific sensors, finishes, etc.), but it’s very competitive according to the value the solution delivers. The business model analysis confirms that the value proposition of the solution is strong, and we need strategic alliances with key partners, Energy Service Companies, R&D centres to reach the end users.

Pilot demonstrations to show the performance of the solution are required. For instance, SIARQ has installed the first Solar Urban HUB in the Smart Zone of a leading operator of wireless telecommunications to give light and measure the flow of people in the main building for security issues. This solution was recently connected to Sentilo, a city platform that shares information to easily integrate applications. The concept of Smart Solar HUB, derived from Solar Urban HUB is being tested in different locations of Spain as part of the previous launch of the final solution. Another pilot trial will be prepared in a living lab for intelligent lighting and Smart City services called DOLL in the city of Copenhagen.

TECHNICAL & PRODUCTION ANALYSIS

The Solar Urban HUB is a new concept of smart urban furniture, able to combine street lighting, solar energy and support for Smart City devices. It will provide a holistic solution at a competitive price, without compromising on the aesthetical design. It is also the first step for the creation of a new infrastructure at the cross road between communication and energy.

The product developed is a compact element composed by several technological components. The envelope of the product is constituted by a photovoltaics dome, which generates energy for the rest of the components inside the body such as the control electronics, the energy accumulator, the lighting LED modules and the sensors. Its dome-shaped compact PV module, unique in the market so far, generates electricity regardless its orientation.

All these features let us meet the requirements of the customers: excellent performance and lifetime, cost effective solutions, energy efficiency, enhanced aesthetics and well integrated solutions, low maintenance costs, Stand-Alone version for remote areas in absence of grid connection, and adaptable to smart city concepts: Wi-Fi, sensor feeding, remote management, etc.

The Solar Urban HUB scale-up production will be done developing an assembly line for the final product. This planning covers a wide variety of activities to ensure materials, assembly-equipment and availability of human resources. SIARQ factory will be in a strategic location of Cataluña, Spain. Every Solar Urban HUB dome will be mounted mechanically and then submitted to a pre assembly of electronic components process. A FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) before leaving our installations will be accomplished, to make sure that every product meets the quality requirements for the best performance. Finally, the Solar Urban HUB will be packed correctly to be sent to final destinations.

The intended production volumes for the following 5 years will be achieved with the planned installed capacity. For an efficient assembly line, the strategy focuses on working along with the suppliers of our key components to control delivery times and high quality productions.

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS & REQUIRED FINANCING

The market assessment shows information regarding the TAM and supported with the Go-to-market strategy, the Solar Urban HUB units that could be commercialized in the following 5 years was clearly defined with credible and acceptable projections. The financial analysis also revealed that every year, as we increase the sales volumes, we could decrease the price, resulting in a growing yearly margin.

SIARQ foresees to continue commercialising other products including LUX+, HOM, CURVA, BAMBÚ and the new TULIPAN before launching the Solar Urban HUB. SIARQ will therefore have the financial stability to co-fund the Phase 2 innovation project and will have the necessary market credibility and brand recognition to ensure a swift market uptake of the Solar Urban HUB.

During the first years we are planning 2 rounds of investment that will allow the development of engineering and also to support our industrialization and commercial strategies. Since year 1 we will be able to grow the business and the real profitability will start after the last investment round when the sales volumes can support the structure of the operation and commercial processes of the company. The sales forecast of Solar Urban HUB is conservative, but we expect to seize market opportunities according to latent growth drivers.

SIARQ will continue leveraging private investment to raise the necessary matching finance to publicly available grants. The main funding sources will be venture capital, EU support schemes (such as FTI or SME Instrument Phase 2) and short term loans and regional/national funding.

SIARQ currently employs 7 staff members and intends a gradually increase of job creation during the following 5 years for key roles such as sales, marketing and exports. At the end, we expect to be a team of at least 25 persons collaborating to deliver smart, efficient, cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

DISSEMINATION & EXPLOITATION OF RESULTS

The Solar Urban HUB project expects to make an impact in environmental, social, economic and technological areas. Its concept of smart urban hub is a crossroad between solar energy and communications that enables a platform for IoT devices allowing innovative business models for Smart Cities.

SIARQ is targeting telecom and IT service providers and Energy Service Companies (ESCO) as customers to reach end users. The municipalities and private companies in need of improved, smart urban infrastructures will hence be the end users of SIARQ’s solution. Both segments will be interested in gaining data on the territory e.g. vehicle transits, power losses, parking availability etc. Municipalities are also interested in providing safe and comfortable environment for their communities, and offering a better place to live and work.

Companies and municipalities will be able to test solutions initially with pilot trials. Valuable feedback will be obtained from the data collected in order to prepare for larger deployments to engage citizens’ participation.

The value chain of this project will result in partnerships with suppliers and other key actors to enhance the impact of the Solar Urban HUB project. This allows continuous improvement of technological advances and manufacturing processes to support the development of a high quality product for the people.

Restraints about regulations, limited budgets, financing mechanisms and strong competition will be tackled down with opportunities such as detailed analysis of policies, FTO and patents, robust business model to get financing for next phases and strong USP to deliver great value to our customers and end users.

Solar Urban HUB solution will be marketed through the platform Rethinkthecity.org by inviting the Smart Cities ecosystem to join SIARQ and talking about new business models for the cities of tomorrow.
The Solar Urban HUB is an innovative concept of urban furniture that belongs to the new generation of Cradle to Cradle zero CO2 emissions products entirely powered by the Sun. It stands out by its dome-shaped lightweight photovoltaic module that houses control electronics, energy accumulator, lighting LED modules, sensors and other smart devices that enable different kinds of monitoring for Smart Cities. It's an integral smart infrastructure that gives support to IoT deployment in urban environments and a booster for the creation of new services, companies and economical activities.

The expected result for the beginning of the project is to have the product ready for commercialization, scaling up the production and improving the manufacturing and assembly process along with key suppliers and partners. The following results are focused on the Go-to-market strategy, allowing the successful launch of the final product. We have been working along the project with inputs of potential customers and have raised interest in them to develop pilot tests with specific user cases for a further larger deployment of Solar Urban HUBs in the urban space.

The Solar Urban HUB is an innovative solution with a high impact in environmental, social, economic and technological areas. It delivers value to the urban ecosystem: citizens, urban spaces, municipalities and companies as it is a renewable energy solution that enables a platform for IoT and smart devices for the cities. The Solar HUB improves the welfare of the community, allowing nice, clean and safe spaces for a higher quality of life.