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H2020

SolarGaps Report Summary

Project ID: 791411

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SolarGaps (SolarGaps - Energy generating solar smart window blinds)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The SME instrument Phase 1 project allowed SolarGaps to conduct feasibility study and continue to work on development of SolarGaps smart solar blinds final product for serial manufacturing and commercialization of the innovative solution. The ambition of SolarGaps is to allow everyone to easily generate solar PV electricity for its own needs or even for sale and therefore contributing to the global energy efficiency incentives.
SolarGaps project addresses two important global issues: carbon pollution and energy inefficiency of existing buildings, and two customer pain-points at once: allow any resident of high-rise buildings or commercial buildings owners or managers to easily and effectively produce sustainable energy for the own needs or sale and provide affordable and easily compatible exterior smart home and smart office shading solutions. SolarGaps blinds allow to save up to 70% of electricity being used by the household due to effective smart shading and electricity generation
During the SME instrument Phase 1 project an elaborate feasibility study was conducted in order to implement the following tasks: 1) market research allowed for study potential market demand, revealed the absence of direct competitors and enabled to define priority countries for SolarGaps initial market entry; 2) dealership and partnership development allowed to create a broad network of stakeholders to ensure the smooth process of SolarGaps smart solar blinds commercialization and fast scale-up; 3) during the IPR strategy development SolarGaps team identified and classified IPR strategy, performed the audit of the product and the technologies, conducted IRP clearance in EU and submitted applications for trademark in the target markets, 4) business model and elaborated business plan development enabled to create commercialization plan for smart solar blind rapid scale-up, which is a comprehensive roadmap consisting of interrelated plans for final serial product design development, market expansion and related with them certification and dealership and partnership development in each market.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the SME instrument Phase 1 project SolarGaps team conducted an elaborate feasibility study implementing following four tasks: market research, dealership and partnership development, IPR strategy development, business model and elaborated business plan development.
Market research revealed that SolarGaps smart solar blinds is a unique solution disrupting existing market structure. It combines functions and features of smart shading and smart energy management devices with solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies and can serve as a modern substitute to different types of usual blinds and shades. Global Smart Shading market, which exists on the intersection of Smart Home and Blinds and Shades market, was considered the best proxy for the SolarGaps niche market being created on the intersection of Smart Home, Blinds and Shades and Solar PV Energy market. Global smart shading market is forecasted to grow significantly at 90% CAGR (2016-2021) providing market opportunity for SolarGaps rapid scale-up. Competitors analysis has proven that currently SolarGaps smart solar blinds have no direct competitors, while potential substitutes and alternatives do not fully satisfy customer needs. Market research enabled to outline SolarGaps priority markets.
Dealership and partnership development during the project allowed to create a broad network of stakeholders to ensure the smooth process of SolarGaps smart solar blinds commercialization and scale-up. Participation in exhibitions and conferences enabled to promote solution in the priority markets and receive valuable feedback about the product and its pricing from potential dealers and early-adopters. Within last 4 months company doubled its dealers network, adding 18 new distributors in 17 new countries, and strengthen its position by expanding its dealers network in the US and Spain.
In the process of IPR strategy development SolarGaps team identified and classified IPR strategy, performed the audit of the product and the technologies, conducted IRP clearance in EU and submitted applications for trademark in the target markets. The company along with attorneys performed a thorough patent landscape analysis, specified the intellectual property objects, and proceeded further in creating the IPR portfolio. SolarGaps received utility model patent in Ukraine as a System for Converting Solar Energy into Electrical Energy, applied for the trademark in the country of origin (Ukraine) and in the US and is now in the process of obtaining the trademark in the EU. Further steps for the development of reliable IPRs have been identified.
Finally, SolarGaps developed an elaborate business plan that will be used as a roadmap for commercialization of SolarGaps smart solar blinds as well as for further development of SolarGaps business. SolarGaps revenue streams come from the sales of smart solar blinds to B2B and for B2C customers. Company focuses on R&D and marketing activities, outsources the assembly of the product and delegates distribution to the local dealers, which makes SolarGaps business model easily scalable. Three other tasks completed during the feasibility study allowed to develop pricing strategy, which will be based on global pricing approach, and commercialization plan as a comprehensive roadmap consisting of interrelated plans for final serial product development, market expansion and related with them certification and dealership and partnership development in each market.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

At these stage, SolarGaps is primary focused on design of final B2C product for serial manufacturing based on the feedback received from early adopters, B2B product software development and implementation of commercialization plan for smart solar blinds. Upon obtainment of certification SolarGaps will start its global expansion. SolarGaps continuously works on R&D to increase efficiency of its smart solar blinds, improve software and firmware to withstand global competition when new market players enter the market. The team is also working on IPR and seeks to patent its innovation in order to protect the product. The ambition of SolarGaps is to allow everyone to easily generate solar PV electricity for its own needs or even for sale thus contributing to the global energy efficiency incentives and environmental protection.

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