Going to market without any assets

innogy Innovation Hub’s latest corporate start-up is a drone-based service platform

A common factor for many of today’s exponential business models is not owning any assets. If you look at Uber as the world´s largest taxi company that doesn’t own any vehicles or Airbnb, the world´s largest accommodation provider that doesn’t own any real estate, it’s clear that something interesting is happening. The innogy Innovation Hub’s latest corporate start-up, ucair, is in tune with this trend, providing a platform to connect solar energy producers with drone operators and PV experts.

Photovoltaic (PV) technology for harnessing solar energy has been a great energy transition success story that has been growing globally at more than 100% per annum. But rarely do PV plants achieve their full capacity, due to technical defects, damage and soiling. A report in Germany estimated that around 80% of PV plants show power reducing defects.

Step forward ucair, with an inspiring vision to ensure that not a single ray of sunshine is wasted because of unmaintained solar cells.

Not a single ray of sunshine is wasted

ucair is a new platform business that does not own any assets. Instead it brings together PV energy producers with drone pilots equipped with thermographic cameras and PV experts who can use the drone data to produce detailed inspection reports, using ucair’s high quality reporting standard. By aggregating information from different customers, ucair can also offer performance comparisons and will eventually be able to predict future maintenance needs for any given installation.

Although the technology is still in its early stages, the platform is now signing up both private and commercial solar customers as well as drone pilots. ucair is also looking to recruit new members to the team, so there are some exciting opportunities who anyone who aspires to have a single digit employee number!

ucair has been founded by two members of the innogy Innovation Hub, Christian Shuster as Chief Executive Officer and Marian Krüger as Chief Product Officer. It will retain strong links to the innogy Innovation Hub and wider business, while Inken Braunschmidt, Chief Innovation Officer of innogy SE, will represent innogy on ucair's board.

ucair utilizes the most recent developments in drones and sensors to make the inspection of photovoltaic plants easier, faster and more transparent for the owners and operators. Being a platform and owning no drones ourselves, we utilize an extensive and steadily growing drone pilot network with thermographic cameras in Germany (more than 40 pilots) to match the customer with inspection needs to a drone pilot nearby.

Christian Shuster, Chief Executive Officer of ucair

If you like to find out more, watch this video of an interview with Christian Shuster, that was broadcast live on Periscope and Twitter.

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