How do we provide our software solutions? – Quick and easy!

How do we provide our software solutions?
- Quick and easy!

Intuitive approaches and customer orientation inspire our customers and partners.

5 Min. Reading time

5 Min. Reading Time

By Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 21.08.2020

by Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 21.08.2020

Many customers are generally sceptical about new software.

More precisely, they are afraid that renewable energy concepts can only be realized by replacing their existing systems with new, complex software systems.  In their minds, horror scenarios of months of implementation projects and chaos in the existing systems take place.

In the following article we want to remove these concerns, using our AE Local Supplier as an example. We will briefly explain how our product is fully functional for you after only 8 weeks. The advantages of our software solutions lie not only in their intuitive operability, but also in their simple integration and commissioning.

For our customers this means

• No complex implementation processes

• No inevitable replacement of existing systems

• No great coordination effort, since we take over the majority of the necessary tasks for the commissioning

Our software makes it easy to implement renewable energy concepts. And thanks to the stress-free integration into any existing systems, the software can be used as quickly as possible.

To show you exactly how the onboarding process of new customers takes place after the contract is signed and how the software is provided, we answer the most frequently asked questions about implementation below.

A. What is the implementation procedure?

After conclusion of the contract we draw up a project plan hand in hand with the customer. This is largely standardized at AE Local Supplier and consists of four phases.

1. The initialization

At the start date (which in corona times can also take place digitally without problems) we explain the complete project to all participants in a workshop. We finalise the project plan and clarify when the product should be ready for launch and which concrete steps still need to be taken. Usually this workshop takes about 2 hours.

Subsequently, we specify the scope of our services according to customer requirements. On the one hand we are guided by the given infrastructure (e.g. „Which accounting system is in use?“ or „What do the data paths look like?“ etc.) or on the other hand by the optimal scope of services for the customer (e.g. „Is there a functioning accounting system?“ or „Should the accounting be done via our software-internal accounting system?“). Finally, the scope of services to be provided by the AE Local Supplier will be determined individually, as this can be adapted accordingly due to its modular structure.

The discussed scope of services is documented in a narrow specification sheet.

2. The implementation

Then we already start to implement the customer-specific interfaces and templates. Among other things, CI, logo and text modules are integrated into (tenant electricity) bills, cancellations, delivery confirmations and other customer documents, so that our templates are adapted to the respective customer in font, form and colour.

3. The data migration

In the third step we set up a customer client in our system so that the customer has his own workspace in our software. If necessary, data from existing tenant electricity projects is migrated into our software. In the standard case, formats, so-called change lists, are filled out, which then guarantee the export of data (customer installation, tariffs, meters of customers or generators) from previous systems or Excel lists to AE Local Supplier. Of course, the customer can now also create and edit new customer installations, as well as all other data (e.g. customers and tariffs) directly in the AE Local Supplier.

After the initial loading of the system, the interfaces that were implemented in phase 2 can be tested.

4. GO-LIVE

After the final phase, the software can be fully used by the customer as a cloud application. In a final training session, all users are guided through the customized software. Thanks to the easy-to-use interface and intuitive procedures, this is done very quickly and provides an opportunity to clarify final questions.

B. How long does the process take, or how many joint workshops are there?

Between the start date and the provision of a functioning system, due to the necessary coordination, about eight weeks will pass. The actual work can also be done in a shorter time, but since different data has to be provided by the customer from week to week, 8 weeks is a good guideline for an efficient, speedy process.

There are two workshops, at the beginning and end of these two months. After that the trained customer has a working system – ready for daily use.

C. What does the support provided by Ampeers Energy look like in the early stages of operation?

During the implementation phase we are in weekly exchange to coordinate the next steps. After the deployment and GO-LIVE of our software, we are no longer involved in the daily processes. After the workshops, working with the software is easy and self-explanatory, so there is no need for our ongoing assistance.

Customers from the real estate industry who are implementing tenant electricity projects for the first time are accompanied by us for a longer period of time, if required, in order to provide advice as energy industry experts. However, thanks to the energy industry expertise contained in our software, even energy-inexperienced customers will soon be able to handle energy on a daily basis.

Of course, we are available to all customers for questions and support via our hotline. We are also constantly working on our software solutions with Fraunhofer and incorporate the latest findings from the energy market in order to guarantee state-of-the-art technology and meet the current requirements of the market.

D. Who has to be involved in the company?

For the implementation of the project it makes sense to involve an energy industry expert who manages the tenant electricity projects as well as a customer manager from the accounting department. Depending on how the interfaces are designed, a member of the IT department should also be involved in the workshops.

In addition, we recommend installing a project manager on the customer side, who will bring together and coordinate all those involved in the company during the implementation phase.

E. What about the inventory data?

In case the customer already realizes tenant electricity projects, we transfer this inventory data into our system. How quickly this migration can be implemented depends on the data quality. During the transfer to our software, data inconsistencies are sometimes revealed (e.g. due to manually managed Excel lists), which must be eliminated after consultation.

If no tenant electricity projects exist to date, new projects can be created directly in AE Local Supplier. Even if no tenant electricity contracts have yet been concluded, you can still enter meter data for the real estate, for example.

F. What about the existing systems? What do the interfaces look like?

It is our guiding principle that we do not replace functioning existing systems, but offer a simple solution, a plug-in, so to speak, for the implementation of new tenant electricity projects. In principle, we can integrate all existing systems (mostly CRM / ERP systems) into our energy data management. Data is exchanged via a file-based CSV interface or a REST API.

So if the customer is satisfied with his existing inventory system for master data management or for accounting and billing, we can pull all relevant data via the interfaces without affecting this system.

Alternatively, if no inventory systems are available, the entire tenant electricity project can be created and managed in AE Local Supplier.

It is also possible to use functioning partial aspects of the existing systems, so that, for example, settlement can still be run via the proven ERP system. You weigh up together what the existing systems already successfully cover, and then the scope of services provided by AE Local Supplier is adapted to your individual needs.

G. Customer feedback

To make it clear that these are not empty promises, but that the simplicity and user-friendliness in implementation and application inspire our customers, we would like to let Mr. Malte Künzer from Solarimo speak for us and hope that we will soon be able to convince you of our team and our software solutions yourself.

„The implementation of the Local Supplier in our systems was a really clear and pleasant process. It progressed rapidly and AMPEERS ENERGY also responded to our requirements in the process itself. The result speaks for itself – the software is user-friendly and the daily work with tenant power is made much easier for us.”

Malte Künzer, Founder & Managing Director at Solarimo GmbH

B2 Tenant flow – the great opportunity of the real estate industry EN

Tenant flow - the great opportunity of the real estate industry

Local, profitable, independently implemented: The decentralized solution for climate protection 

6 min. reading time

6 min. reading time

by Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 29.04.2020

by Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 29.04.2020

1.The building sector must now become active in climate protection

In 2018, 117 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were generated in the „buildings“ sector. This includes the real estate of private households as well as commercial, retail and service providers. 117 million tonnes are only the direct emissions, mainly produced by combustion processes in buildings for space heating and hot water, and correspond to about 14% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. If indirect emissions are also taken into account, which occur for the electricity and grid-bound heat supply of the building sector in the energy industry, the share of the building sector in emissions is about twice as high. 

Germany therefore still has considerable savings potential when it comes to CO2 reduction in the building sector. 

This is also the view of the Minister for the environment Svenja Schulze. The current BMU report on German greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 shows a total release of 805 million tonnes of CO2. That is a decrease of about 54 million tons and thus 6.3% of the emissions compared to the previous year. The Federal Environment Minister sees the reasons for this decrease in the successful expansion of renewable energies and the shutdown of the first coal-fired power plants, among others. While she expressly praises the results in the energy industry, she still sees considerable potential in the transport and real estate sectors.  

By 2030 Germany wants to reduce its emissions by at least 55 percent according to the Climate Protection Act. This represents a huge opportunity for the real estate sector in particular: it can make a significant contribution to achieving climate protection targets and at the same time build a new profitable business model for itself. 

The solution is called tenant flow 

To explain „tenant flow“ in more detail, we take a look at the real estate industry, its situation on the energy market, the challenges it faces and what solutions exist for it. 

2. The decreasing feed-in tariff

Solar power in Germany is already a success story. Today, in 2020, more than 1.7 million PV systems will supply around 9% of the electricity produced in Germany – and the share of photovoltaics in electricity generation continues to rise. However, a look at the ownership structure of photovoltaic systems in Germany shows that the real estate sector (represented here proportionately by commercial enterprises) is lagging behind its potential. 

With a consistent development of available and so far unused (roof) areas, the real estate industry would raise the topic of solar power to the next level. However, the achievable yields of fully feeding PV systems are shrinking due to the falling feed-in tariffs, which is slowing down the investments of real estate companies in solar energy.  

The feed-in tariff for PV electricity is decreasing faster than for any other renewable energy source. Over the last 15 years, the feed-in tariff has fallen by approx. 80% for small-scale systems and 90% for medium-sized systems. The reasons for this are the declining state subsidies paid in the 1990s and early 2000s to promote solar energy as quickly as possible. Now the production of PV systems no longer needs to be subsidised to such an extent, as it is much more cost-effective than 20 years ago due to increased efficiency and cost reductions in production.  Due to the experience curve effects of the manufacturers, government subsidies have been steadily decreasing since 2014 and the energy market is facing falling feed-in tariffs.  

 [4] EEG remuneration for PV electricity after the date of commissioning of the power plant, average remuneration in the tenders of the Federal Network Agency, electricity prices and average remuneration for PV electricity

The energy market is changing. From summer 2020, the yield of a full-feed PV system will be between 3% and 3.5% and will tend to fall further. Compared with this classic grid-oriented business with falling revenues from full feed-in and rising electricity prices, a consumer/neighbourhood-oriented business with cheap and locally generated renewable energies will become increasingly profitable in the medium term. 

3. Tenant flow - the sustainable solution with higher profit

Tenant power is the answer to the question of how renewable energies can be integrated into the property portfolio in an economically profitable way. The own use, i.e. the marketing, of locally produced electricity to the customers of the real estate company (e.g. tenants) is becoming increasingly lucrative.  

Tenant electricity, if efficiently implemented, can generate a return that is approximately three times higher than that of a full-feed system.  

The real estate industry has additional income, as it now offers electricity in addition to heating and rental space. The value of the property increases sustainably by equipping it with innovative technology. Tenants receive their locally produced tenant electricity, which is not only sustainable but also cheaper compared to electricity from the public grid. They get a renewable energy source they can experience – a regional, green product. 

And last but not least, the environment benefits. Because it is profitable for the real estate industry to make the existing unused space available for the expansion of renewable energies, the share of renewable energies in the energy supply increases and there is an immediate positive effect on CO2 reduction. Tenant electricity is a win-win situation for all parties involved and a profitable opportunity for the building sector to make its contribution to achieving climate targets. 

The real estate sector already has the customer access necessary for tenant electricity. Current business models, such as offering other service contracts in addition to the rental contract, for example for service charges or a telecommunications service, have already proven their worth – and can even be expanded. Concluding an additional energy supply contract is easy and does not require any major additional sales effort. 

4. The "challenges" of tenant electricity projects

Now the question arises why not all property owners are yet implementing tenant power projects, even though the expected return is demonstrably higher. In our experience, this is related to two (supposed) problems. On the one hand, real estate companies fear a loss of the trade tax privilege due to the commissioning of a tenant electricity system. According to § 9 no. 1 sentence 2 GewStG, real estate companies save trade tax if they exclusively manage and use their own property. In theory, the additional turnover from the sale of electricity would jeopardise their trade tax privilege.  

Moreover, there is simply a fear of uncertainty. Power supply is a completely new and supposedly complex business field. Most housing companies have many years of expertise in the provision of rental space and heat, as well as the billing of the same. Entering the electricity business would be uncharted territory and so there is caution and restraint when it comes to setting up and commissioning a tenant electricity system. There are questions about the metering infrastructure and meter reading. How are the new, small-scale, decentralised processes recorded, billed and reported to the responsible authorities? 

The lack of energy-industry and tenant-electricity know-how combined with the fear of losing the trade tax privilege discourages many real estate companies from implementing tenant electricity. 

5. The solutions for the simple implementation of tenant flow

But of course, there are suitable solutions for these „challenges“. 

There are various ways for real estate companies to implement tenant electricity projects without risking their trade tax exemption at the same time. 

One possibility is cooperation with an energy supply company or an energy service provider. In this cooperative approach, the entire tenant electricity offer is implemented by a commissioned utility company. 

Alternatively, the real estate company can, of course, also carry out tenant electricity on its own by implementing the issue with a specially founded energy supply company. This subsidiary can operate the energy supply for its own property, as the trade tax is only incurred in the subsidiary.  

Since a possible „threatening trade tax loss“ deserves special attention, the upcoming blog post will focus on the legal and technical intricacies of the „challenges and solutions to the topic of tenant flow“. In a podcast, AMPEERS ENERGY co-founder Karsten Schmidt discusses all the questions that arise on the topic with energy law expert Peter Mussaeus of PwC Legal. 

 

Thus, the only remaining obstacle is the „uncharted territory“ in the energy industry from the point of view of the real estate industry. Many companies only see the complex and small-scale tasks in tenant electricity projects (such as balancing the quantities for the proof of origin, reporting electricity tax to the main customs office or controlling the quantities relevant to the EEG).  In order to ensure the economic efficiency of this small-scale task, it is necessary to deal with the individual specifics and take them into account in the calculation. Manual accounting, such as with MS Excel, is extremely time-consuming due to the small scale of the task. One could claim that a tenant electricity project is a microcosm of its own. 

6. Making tenant electricity projects possible

And this is exactly where we at AMPEERS ENERGY come in. 

Because we have a fully automated software solution, the AE Local Supplier, which not only makes the billing of tenant electricity projects scalable, but also supports all energy management processes end-to-end. It is the energy industry expertise that makes tenant electricity projects automated and easy to implement for everyone.  

The Local Supplier focuses on tenant electricity projects. It is individually adapted for the respective companies and is then able to implement the small-scale processes in all tenant electricity projects in a largely automated manner. 

The Local Supplier enables the customer to be guided through the topic of tenant electricity without having to know every last detail about it. It is easy to work with the user-friendly software and implement entire tenant electricity projects. The software takes over the complete administrative side of tenant electricity projects, e.g. change processes, balancing, billing of generation plants and end customers and also receivables management. 

Many companies have their own functioning inventory systems, such as accounting systems or CRM customer management systems for their customers‘ master data and are extremely reluctant to set up a parallel system. This is not necessary with our solution. We are open to the system and integrate ourselves as a plug-in to the existing systems, without wanting to replace them. 

This enables every real estate company to benefit from the advantages of tenant flow and to generate an attractive return on investment. 

Thanks to our network of partners and our energy expertise, we have an answer to all questions regarding infrastructure, software or financing and experts who can take care of the matter (all-round carefree service). 

From our point of view, the real estate industry is predestined to enter into the distribution of tenant power. If the huge potential is used intelligently, the real estate industry will not only have a new, lucrative business model, but it will also make a decisive contribution to advancing the energy turnaround and a greener future.

Let´s make decentralized business profitable!   

[1] https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/aktuelle-fakten-zur-photovoltaik-in-deutschland.pdf

[2] https://www.baulinks.de/webplugin/2010/1689.php4

[3] The concept states that the inflation-adjusted (real) unit costs fall constantly if the cumulative output (production quantity) increases. Typically, the costs decrease by 20 to 30% when the cumulative output quantity doubles.

[4] Source Fraunhofer ISE: https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/aktuelle-fakten-zur-photovoltaik-in-deutschland.pdf

Profitably sustainable: AMPEERS ENERGY, Fraunhofer and Vonovia bring the energy turnaround to the neighborhood! EN

Profitably sustainable: AMPEERS ENERGY, Fraunhofer and Vonovia bring the energy turnaround to the district!

The start-up AMPEERS ENERGY is piloting the optimized charging of electric vehicles in the neighborhood context in the ODH@Bochum-Weitmar project sponsored by the state of NRW. With the innovative, cloud-based software solution from AMPEERS ENERGY, mobility requirements can be intelligently combined with local renewable energy generation. In an earlier project it could already be shown that the operating costs of a fleet vehicle with 15,000 km mileage can be reduced by 750 euros per year – e-mobility becomes economical!

3 min. reading time

3 min. reading time

by Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 17.01.2020

by Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 17.01.2020

CONTENT

Pilot testing of innovative decentralised energy concepts - funded by the State of NRW

In the real estate and mobility sector in particular, the potential of energy system transformation must be exploited as quickly as possible. With this goal in mind, the start-up AMPEERS ENERGY, the housing company Vonovia and the research institutes of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (UMSICHT, FIT and IOSB) have launched the ODH@Bochum-Weitmar project. In the project, which is supported by the state of NRW with 6.2 million euros, innovative business models are to be tested over the next three years, which use locally generated renewable energy as efficiently as possible and combine the sectors of electricity, heat and mobility in the neighbourhood.

AMPEERS ENERGY has set itself the goal of supporting the real estate industry in the realization of sustainably profitable, decentralized business models in new construction as well as in classic existing housing estates. To this end, our company provides easy-to-integrate, cloud-based software solutions that provide end-to-end support for the energy industry challenges of a housing company,“ explains Dr. Karsten Schmidt, founder and managing director of AMPEERS ENERGY.

Customers benefit from new service offerings

To ensure that locally and sustainably generated energy can be used as efficiently as possible, the electricity, heating and mobility sectors in the neighbourhood are linked together. The overall aim is to create a networked, decentralized supply system that will enable a partially self-sufficient supply of electricity and heat in the neighborhood. „Of course, the main aim is to save energy or use it sensibly, to uncover savings potential and to protect the environment,“ says Tobias Hofmann of Vonovia SE.

In the future, an intelligent, self-learning energy management system will ensure that the right energy is available at the right time and in the right place in the Bochum-Weitmar quarter – at electric charging points, as household electricity for the quarter’s residents or in the form of heat.

A major focus of the R&D project is the electrical integration of charging for e-vehicles of different uses (car sharing, craftsmen’s fleet, etc.). In this context AMPEERS ENERGY will demonstrate the AI-based optimization capability of fleet vehicles with its „AE Fleet Optimizer“. The goal: an economically advantageous operation of e-mobility compared to fossil-fuelled vehicles as a result of optimized neighbourhood integration and intelligent charge control.

AMPEERS ENERGY is a provider of SaaS solutions for enabling decentralized business models

AMPEERS ENERGY is a partner of the energy and real estate industry as well as fleet operators on the way to sustainably profitable, decentralized business models. Until now, offers relating to residential areas and electromobility have only been economical in certain areas. AMPEERS ENERGY is changing this together with partners in these sectors! With the available cloud-based software solutions, the entry into tenant electricity, neighborhood energy management and electromobility is easy and profitable.

As a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the start-up has access to the latest technologies, which are made available to the energy and real estate industry and fleet operators by a team with many years of experience in the energy industry and agile software developers.

Profitable sustainability: Fraunhofer spin-off makes energy system transformation a business model EN

Profitable sustainable: Fraunhofer spin-off makes energy system transformation a business model

The start-up AMPEERS ENERGY provides a cloud-based software ecosystem with which companies can exploit the economic and ecological potential of the energy revolution.

2 min. reading time

2 min. reading time

By Dr. Karsten Schmidt,
 Gerrit Ellerwald, Tobias Müller
, authors
Published on 01.08.2019

By Dr. Karsten Schmidt,
 Gerrit Ellerwald, Tobias Müller
, authors
Published on 01.08.2019

CONTENT

A new player for enabling decentralized business models

On May 2, 2019, the Fraunhofer spin-off AMPEERS ENERGY was founded in Munich. The founding team, consisting of Gerrit Ellerwald, Tobias Müller and Dr. Karsten Schmidt, implements the decentralized energy revolution as a profitable business model for companies with its software solutions. The software solutions offered are based on the long-established EMS-EDM PROPHET® software developed by Fraunhofer IOSB-AST and range from neighbourhood energy management and a tenant flow application to the controlled charging of commercial e-vehicle fleets. The fact that AMPEERS ENERGY’s business idea is falling on fertile ground is demonstrated by the seed financing round concluded in June, in which a 7-digit amount was achieved. Among the investors are the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Jost Group of Companies as well as a number of experienced business angels from the energy industry, such as Prof. Dr. Mike de Saldanha, Peter Mussaeus, Peter Beyer, Dr. Volker Breisig, Andreas Steck and Dr. Moritz Pöschke. The use of the funds will flow into the further development of the products and market entry.

Customers benefit from simplification and cost reduction

What distinguishes AMPEERS ENERGY from other competitors is the holistic approach of the software solution – from forecasting to optimization and billing, and that across all sectors. Both established and new players in various sectors can thus manage all their energy-related activities in the neighbourhood – without the need for costly and time-consuming know-how development and, what’s more, profitably. The AI-based software automatically forecasts generation and consumption, performs the subsequent optimisation and the complete processing (including all energy market processes) and billing. This results in financial advantages in the implementation of tenant electricity projects of 40% compared to existing software solutions. The use of e-vehicles is possible at € 5 ct/km lower operating costs compared to conventional diesel vehicles and energy costs in the neighbourhood can be reduced by up to 20% through cross sectoral optimisation.

Neues Whitepaper: Wie die Immobilienwirtschaft die CO2-Minderung profitabel erreicht JETZT HERUNTERLADEN!