Category: Innovative Technologies
Solar Monkey gave a huge boost to the Dutch solar PV market and is now about to conquer Europe from their new head office in The Hague. “In about five years we want to be world market leader in solar PV software,” says co-founder Jan Pieter Versluijs.
The company managed to shake up the Dutch market for design and installation software of solar PV systems, and soon outgrew its offices at Yes!Delft, the incubator for tech startups affiliated with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Founded in 2016 by two TU Delft graduates, Jan Pieter Versluijs and Mels van Hoolwerff, Solar Monkey scaled up quickly to a company with 29 full-time employees and is now located at The Hague Tech, a collective workspace housing a community of digital technology companies.
The idea behind Solar Monkey was born in 2015. Versluijs and his friend from university Van Hoolwerff were convinced that the installation of solar panels could be made much more efficient. Installers have to personally visit potential clients and inspect their roofs before they can make an offer. A time-consuming process, and offers do not always lead to business. Wouldn’t it be great if they could do this from behind their desk? The entrepreneurs collected data from all roofs in the Netherlands and then developed smart software with which solar PV installers can prepare a tailor-made offer for every building in a matter of minutes.
Solar Monkey is now ready for the next step: Europe awaits. The company is already active in Belgium and Spain, both “markets with high growth potential with plenty of opportunity for technological progress”. To acquire the data they need, Solar Monkey buys aerial photos from Google or, even better, local providers. Solar Monkey’s engineers put together 3D data from overlapping aerial photographs. “In time we want to cover the entire country.”
Versluijs acknowledges that in a high-growth market like solar power there will always be competition. But he is convinced Solar Monkey is ahead of the pack. “Our product strategy is based on three elements. First we have developed a unique method of incorporating 3D data in our system. Secondly, we have an extremely user-friendly package. All complexity is hidden under the hood. Anyone can work with the program in no time. And thirdly with our monitoring service we have a unique offer that captures a large part of the value chain.