Indian-led start-up raises Swiss funding for solar diagnostic tool


The SmartHelio Swiss start-up led by Indian entrepreneur Govinda Upadhyay has raised CHF250,000 (INR 2 crore) for its deep-data driven PV diagnostic tool. The equity and convertible loan investment will help the cleantech start-up develop its product and scale up operations in Europe and India.

The start-up says solar companies can use the SmartHelio cloud-based asset management system with inverters or data loggers or can obtain more accurate data using the company’s cloud service and sensor.

SmartHelio CEO Upadhyay told pv magazine: “Basically, our solution is a diagnostic and prescriptive tool. The aim is that we never let the client’s solar plant get sick. We use the client’s existing monitoring [or] supervisory control and data acquisition system [or] inverter and provide [a] deep diagnostic [service]. We also provide smart [internet-of-things-enabled] sensors which give us data from the panel side, helping us to check potential induced degradation, bypass diode failure, connector failure, wire rusting etc.


“Our current funding will go into business expansion in India and new hiring. Our research grant will help in further improving our data analytics and also make our IoT [internet-of-things] sensor smarter and more affordable.”

Edy Walker, head of investment at Alternative Bank Schwiez, which participated in the funding round, said: “SmartHelio has developed a cost-effective, easy-to-install monitoring and diagnostic solution to increase the performance of solar plants and ensure rapid maintenance. We see great opportunities for this innovation to have a positive impact on the photovoltaic solar market and thus make an important contribution to the spread of renewable energy.”

The funding round follows a CHF800,000, 18-month project grant awarded by innovation agency Innosuisse to develop the HelioHealth solar sensor and deep data analytics tool. Under that project, SmartHelio will work with the Institute of Electrical Engineering at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, to make its sensors more cost-effective, scalable and faster at fault detection.

Entrepreneur Upadhyay added: “Since the Covid outbreak, [the] SmartHelio product has recorded almost [a] 200% jump in demand in the last six months as solar companies look for smart solutions which can help them increase production as well as optimize logistics.”

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