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Why DNV chose Solcast?

In the rapidly evolving world of renewable energy, decisions made today will significantly influence the future. That's why it's essential to be guided by accurate data, innovative technology, and strategic partnerships. As we come to the end of 2023, it’s a good time to review one of our key strategic moves at the start of this year: DNV's acquisition of Solcast, a leading provider of solar irradiance data.

The future of solar energy and the role of data

Variable renewables are going to grow dramatically, and despite starting from a low base, solar is going to be the biggest single source of electricity by 2050 according to DNV's Energy Transition Outlook.

While this massive build-out is a major challenge, enabling that future isn't just about constructing more solar plants. The whole sector is transforming, and the industry will be increasingly dependent on having access to the best quality data. As with every industry, digital technology is increasingly powering the way organizations generate, dispatch and manage energy, and the data that powers that technology is an increasingly valuable, and complicated, asset.

Solar irradiance data providers like Solcast will play a vital role in this future landscape, by enabling complex processes like resource assessments, monitoring and data analysis, grid load forecasting and storage dispatch decision-making to become increasingly digitized and detailed. In DNV’s 2023 Industry Insights research, 72% of energy industry respondents said advanced use of data is changing the way they work at their organizations. This acceleration towards new data technologies makes digitally accessible, satellite-derived irradiance data, delivered with a scalable approach, essential to enable the advanced technologies required to decarbonize.

Having a source of scalable digital data, integrated with your systems is valuable throughout the lifecycle of a project from the very early days of resource assessment, through to performance and analytics when the plants are operating, and to advisory on more strategic topics. This underscores DNV’s strategic thinking behind the acquisition of Solcast, a move that aligns with the trajectory of the future energy landscape and demonstrates our commitment to helping industries and governments navigate the transition to a deeply decarbonized energy system.

Recognizing the potential in Solcast

When assessing a company for the DNV fit, we’re not just looking for a good business. We are looking to find a business that does things differently to us, that brings in new capabilities. James’ [Luffman, Solcast Co-Founder and CEO] enthusiasm, for the energy transition, Solcast’s customers and the Solcast team stood out immediately. Based in Sydney, Australia, the Solcast team is comprised of meteorologists, data scientists, and solar industry enthusiasts. The company’s data models and scalable technology platform were impressive from the outset, as was its commitment to cultivating a strong team, armed with the right technical skills.

Solcast’s growth demonstrated a strong market fit, but importantly the scalability also fits with DNV’s strategy to support the decarbonization of the energy industry. The solar industry is growing rapidly, our ETO forecasts that solar capacity will grow 22-fold in the years to 2050. Making informed decisions about this rapidly growing technology will be critical. For our customers, access to the best data enables investment decision making, improves operational efficiency, enhances profitability, and helps mitigate risks. Having Solcast's digital solution in-house can enrich DNV's ability to offer highly accurate, independently validated energy assessments and advisory services.

Building confidence in Solcast's data

Our customers will always want to know how robust, how reliable, what we call 'bankable' in one word, their data is. In acquiring Solcast, DNV undertook a thorough evaluation of Solcast's historic data and forecast quality. This validation process involved comparing Solcast's data against validated measurement data from locations across the globe and in various climatological environments. The goal was not only to assess the accuracy of Solcast's data, but also to understand its performance under different weather conditions and geographical locations.

It wasn't just about the accuracy of the data, though. We also needed to confirm that Solcast's processes and systems were suitable for the fast-paced, demanding solar industry. This meant diving deep into the mechanisms of Solcast's operations. Our due diligence was a highly detailed and intricate process. We needed to understand the models, systems, and data sources that Solcast uses to produce its data and operate its API. We couldn't acquire a data vendor without being certain about these aspects.

The power of collaboration

In a time of great transition and tremendous opportunity, DNV's acquisition of Solcast is a testament to the power of collaboration and strategic growth. This partnership promises to accelerate the energy transition, supporting an efficient, resilient, and deeply decarbonized energy future. These benefits have already been realized in a productive first year of working together. For example, DNV and Solcast won a joint bid to provide grid forecasting services to ISO New England, and the teams are working together on delivering innovative strategic solutions for our customers.

It’s the power of collaboration, of bringing together Solcast's innovative, technology-driven data and DNV's global network and industry reputation that holds the potential to redefine what's possible in the solar energy sector. And indeed, this acquisition is not just about two companies coming together—it's about shaping a sustainable, technology-powered future for all. With a joint commitment to data accuracy, technological scalability, and customer-centric solutions.

12/20/2023 12:00:00 PM

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Lucy Craig

Lucy Craig

Director, Growth, Innovation & Digitalization