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Fortum and Futurice Developing New Concept for Solar Energy Companies in Developing Countries

March 15, 2017
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Energy company Fortum and software agency Futurice are embarking on a new kind of cooperation that combines their expertise in solar energy and software design.

The aim of the cooperation is to create a solution that provides easier access to electricity for people in developing countries. In less than two hours the earth receives from the sun the amount of energy that is consumed annually. At the same time 1.3 billion people lack a dependable source of electricity.

The idea is to develop a platform that would help local solar companies offer solar energy systems to households. The Software-as-a-Service concept would offer a solution for solar companies to secure the payment from end-customers and to provide better customer support, as well as a more reliable system. One solution is the pay-as-you-go model which allows people who can't afford their own panels to purchase electricity. By replacing the current services with a digital solution that can be used without a smartphone, via text messaging or other solutions, the potential user pool grows considerably.

The solution will be developed in an open innovation process by combining the resources and know-how of Fortum and Futurice. Fortum has expertise in developing energy systems and in industrial-scale solar power in India as well as offering solar solutions for private and business customers in Nordics. Futurice is an expert in the development of digital services, applications, and solution architecture.

"By combining digital know-how, the Internet of Things and solar energy in an open innovation process, we are aiming for a new solution and business model that would have a concrete impact on sustainable development," says R&D Manager Catarina Naucler from Fortum.

"For Futurice, the cooperation represents a new way of working side-by-side with a strategic partner and in selected projects moving from service provider to equal business partner. We want to find new ways of working and create new, evolving and agile ecosystems. One way to do this is to establish startups with our corporate partners," Future & startups Principal Anni Harju from Futurice states.

The open innovation process is started by developing and prototyping the solution. If the development phase is successful, a commercial pilot could be started in fall 2017.

Fortum is a leading clean-energy company that provides its customers with electricity, heating and cooling as well as smart solutions to improve resource efficiency. The company employs some 8,000 professionals in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Russia, Poland and India, and 62% of its electricity generation is CO2 free. In 2016, company sales were EUR 3.6 billion.

Futurice is a growing international company that builds innovative digital solutions for customers and advises them in digital transformation. Founded in 2000, the company employs 350 experts in Berlin, Stockholm, Munich, London, Tampere and Helsinki. Futurice &startups is the company's new operational model for creating innovative startups that combine a customer's industry expertise with Futurice's strong background in digital.

Source: Fortum

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