Paris-based startup Granular picks up €2 million for its mission to fuel the shift to clean energy

Facilitating the transition to 24/7 clean energy, Parisian startup Granular has just raised €2 million. The cleantech startup is shaking up how the world buys energy with its hourly energy certificates that give enhanced transparency into where energy is coming from.

Across the world, there is an icnreasingly urgent push towards clean energy as the race to achieve net-zero picks up. Carbon-free energy solutions are increasingly sought after, but, until now, transparency on energy availability and use has been a little cloudy. On a mission to instigate a paradigm shift in global energy markets, Granular has now raised €2 million and is ready to launch its hourly energy certificates. 

VC funds Seedcamp, Revent and Powerhouse Ventures all contributed to the fresh funds. 

The current system of energy certificates is about 20 years old now, and so it goes without saying it might be time for a review of how things are done. Energy certificates are used to enable informed choices of how to choose one type of electricity over another, but it’s a flawed system. 

According to Granular, which is led by experienced energy entrepreneurs, under the current framework claims of 100% renewable energy can be made by matching electricity consumption with renewable energy produced at any time within a 12-month window. This fails to reflect the ‘real world’ availability of renewable energy which fluctuates from hour to hour, and effectively means that solar energy can be claimed against consumption during night-time leading to distrust and inefficient price signals.

It’s an issue that is presenting a serious obstacle in the transition to clean energy sources. Fixing it could be the key to re-orientating energy markets to decarbonisation. 

This is what Granular aims to achieve. Founded in 2021, Granular has been developing internationally recognised standards for hourly certificates and is providing SaaS tools to trade and manage time-stamped energy certificates (or ‘hourly energy certificates’) that enable consumers to verify when and where their energy is coming from carbon-free sources.

Toby Ferenczi, Granular Energy co-founder and CEO explained: “By establishing a market for hourly energy certificates, Granular is helping to accelerate the shift to a carbon-free grid by harnessing consumer demand to send a razor-sharp price signal that values clean energy according to ‘real-world’ availability. Ultimately, we think that all units of energy could be tagged and traded in this way, bringing a radical new level of transparency to energy markets.”

To truly decarbonize the energy supply, there is a fast-growing trend to commit to 24/7 carbon-free energy, meaning that every unit of electricity consumption is met with carbon-free electricity sources, at every hour and at every location, verified by hourly energy certificates. This represents a paradigm shift in the way consumers purchase clean energy and represents a market need for a solution like Granular’s. 

It’s a shift that calls for an increase in transparency in clean energy and carbon accounting claims, as well as incentivising the deployment of renewable energy, demand-side flexibility, and storage. Being part of this transition brings benefits across sectors, including transport, industry, heating and cooling. 

Henrik Grosse Hokamp, Partner at Revent said: “Granular’s solution is a paradigm change for the energy market. It will be finally possible for utilities, corporates, and consumers to buy true 100% carbon-free electricity. This is a crucial step and a missing piece to move our society away from carbon-emitting energy production and towards addressing climate change in a meaningful way.”

One use case that illustrates the importance of this new approach is the hydrogen industry. On 20th May, the European Commission released for consultation new requirements which include hourly matching between renewable generation and electrolyzer consumption that must be met to qualify as green hydrogen. Granular has developed a specific software solution to help hydrogen producers efficiently meet this requirement and verify that their hydrogen is truly green and is in discussions to trial this in Europe soon.

Further, the market for existing clean energy certificates is estimated to be worth about $12 billion and is estimated to grow to $100 billion by 2030 with increasing scrutiny over energy performance. It shows great market potential for the disruptive Paris-based startup. 

Emily Kirsch, Managing Partner, Powerhouse Ventures said: “To truly decarbonize energy supply, there needs to be a significant shift to hourly clean energy procurement and Granular is well-positioned to provide the tools necessary to manage and scale the emerging 24/7 carbon-free energy market.”

The company has already partnered with NordPool, the leading European power market operator, and Elexon, to launch the world’s first market for hourly energy certificates in the UK. Twelve large energy utilities are participating in the first phase of the market launch, alongside a diverse range of large organisations such as Sky and The University of Nottingham who are both demonstrating their sustainability leadership by engaging in the project. 

Now, with this new funding boost, the startup will roll out its platform in the UK, launch into 3 new European markets and into the US, taking transparent energy certificates to international heights.