Renewable energy increasingly powers our world. Last year, 18% of energy consumed by the U.S. was generated from renewable sources, and 62% of new energy-project construction went to renewable projects. All in all, renewable energy consumption has doubled since 2008.
What was once science-fiction is now science fact — we no longer blink when we see a battery-powered Tesla driving down the street and gazing up at giant wind turbines is not a unique experience.
One could have seen this coming — no matter what one’s’ opinion of global warming is the simple fact of the matter is we have a finite amount of oil in the ground, thus renewable energy will continue to play an increasingly important role in our future .
For those looking to make superior investment returns, a growth-market like renewable energy presents an intriguing investment opportunity on both the energy production and distribution and storage side of the market. Below we explore startups that you can currently invest in across the supply chain of renewable energy.
HyGen: Raising up to $20M in a RegA+ offering on StartEngine
HyGen focuses on capturing the next generation of renewable energy usage: hydrogen fuel cells. To date, most renewable energy development has revolved around solar and wind — but we will continue to see more development from more diverse sources such as hydrogen fuel.
The company has a decent case. While Elon Musk and his Tesla lead the charge of EV’s (electric vehicles) the simple fact of the matter is that they take a relatively long time to recharge relative to traditional gasoline-fueled automobiles.
HyGen seeks to solve the transportation-fueling needs of tomorrow by selling and distributing hydrogen for use in hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles. Current hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can, in the most advanced cases, refuel to a 300-mile range in just 180 seconds.
This trounces anything that EV’s can boast. Which is perhaps why auto-majors Toyota, BMW, Honda, and Hyundai, along with other major corporations have announced a joint $10B investment in hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell technologies over the next five years.
From a high vantage point, it’s clear the technology should be explored — it holds too much promise not to. What if we hadn’t tried tungsten in light bulbs or, ironically, gasoline in cars?
The fact that major automotive companies are doing a great deal of the legwork for it makes HyGen an intriguing bet on a renewable future. By investing in HyGen, investors are betting at least a portion of vehicles in the future will be hydrogen fuel-cell powered and that HyGen will be a major provider.
Verdant Power Inc.: Raising up to $1.07M in a RegCF offering on Netcapital
Wind power has been all the rage for renewable energy investors in recent years — but capturing wind as it blows across the Midwestern prairies isn’t the only way to turn an energy-capturing turbine.
Enter Verdant Power, a company that has developed a submersible turbine that can be lowered into rivers, rides, oceans, and canals to power local communities. Verdant has a significant advantage over its wind-powered cousins: water is always flowing. This simple fact squashes the constant criticism that “the wind doesn’t always blow.”
We have all seen massive, wind-turbine farms as we drive along the highway: Verdant Power might be better. Water is everywhere around us, generating kinetic energy that can be captured as it flows along the path of least resistance.
Verdant Power’s turbines need just 1.8 m/s water currents to generate electricity, and the use of technologies such as these might be the “path of least resistance” for communities of the future.
New York City has had Verdant’s turbines in the East River since 2012, a challenging environment to be implemented in you can imagine, and the team has already raised well over $30M to develop this complex technology.
Needless to say, the opportunity to invest in Verdant is an opportunity to invest in a late stage game-changing power production company with a highly experienced team and well developed technology.
PrimoWind: Raising up to $500K in a RegCF offering on MicroVentures
Wind Power has been a significant component of the renewable energy revolution: but there’s a problem. For the massive wind turbines we have all become accustomed to, a respectable wind-system must be present.
Primo Wind has created a patented wind system that can generate electricity off just 5-10 mph of wind currents — widespread no matter where one calls home.
It does so via the EnergiTree (a turbine capable of withstanding Category-2 hurricanes), which costs just $6,000 – a low-cost option compared to the competition. Mix its relative affordability with a solar-panel add-on and battery backup, and you’ve got a high-end product at an extremely attractive price point.
Primo Wind is beloved, particularly in off-the-grid-type situations and it is easy to see why: self-sustaining energy is perhaps the most significant benefit of the renewable revolution. Any company that can solve this problem, as Primo Wind appears capable, will almost certainly be rewarded in the marketplace.
There are just no quality products catering to the burgeoning small-to-middle market for wind power. Whether it be via acquisition or an eventual IPO, crowd investors interested in the wind-energy market would do well to give Primo Wind consideration.
Energy Distribution And Storage:
Power Hero: Raising up to $88K in a RegCF offering on StartEngine
The first concern any prospective electric vehicle (EV) buyer has is the ability to recharge their car: what if I run out of juice in the middle of nowhere? For EV’s to take off, we’re going to need ubiquitous charging options. Which is why Power Hero is a compelling crowdfunding investment option.
Both gas stations and supercharging stations cost hundreds of thousands to build — but do we need such investments to charge the cars of tomorrow? Power Hero doesn’t think so, which is why they made an adapter that turns any traditional electric outlet into an EV charging station.
Coupled with the company’s app which points drivers to a usable Power Hero “outlet,” the company has a compelling solution that plays well to two tidal shifts we are currently watching play out — those being the rise of electric vehicles and the on-demand economy.
Now anyone with a Power Hero adapter can provide a charging station for EV users looking for a charging station creating unprecedented access to electric power supply via the crowd. With its simple adapter (which costs $19 at most on a lease-payment plan) Power Hero has found an efficient, cost affordable way to create widespread access to EV charging stations.
With the team already having invested in the proof-of-concept, the reality of Power Hero in millions of peoples homes is getting closer to reality.
And though it is still early days, Elon Musk’s Tesla may step up and buy Power Hero for its patents alone down the road. We are very bullish on the opportunity of Power Hero. If you want to learn more about this opportunity, check out our “Top Deal” recommendation on Power Hero HERE.
StorEn: Raising up to $1.07M in a RegCF offering on StartEngine
The renewable-future is going to need battery storage — technologies that don’t entirely exist yet. As much as we hate to admit it, lithium-ion batteries are expensive and not as efficient as many would like. </ span>
StorEn was born to create and market a new kind of battery: the vanadium flow battery.
Preliminary testing shows that its vanadium-batteries have 25-year life cycles (far longer than any current battery), costs just $0.02 per cycle (meaning fully charging your device or car) and is entirely recyclable.
With more and more homes moving to utilize solar panels, the need for power storage will continue to rise significantly. Finding efficient ways to store solar energy is one of the last major barriers to ensuring the long-term viability of this renewable source of energy over the long term.
MckInsey estimates energy storage will become a $2.5B market by 2022 and StorEn has the opportunity with its early mover advantage to play a significant role in this market.
The team has already invested $1.5M in R&D, established supply chain deals for vanadium that play a key role in their proprietary technology, and are highly experienced entrepreneurs in the energy space.
Should StorEn succeed, we will all benefit from its technology — just not as much as early investors.
With so much innovation occurring across the renewable energy landscape, a wise investment approach is to take a vertically integrated investment strategy. What do I mean by that? Well, if you invest in both companies that produce energy and those that distribute and store energy, you can be invested in the whole lifecycle of renewable energy.
This helps to diversify your risk and also benefit from the growth of the entire renewables market, rather than just from production or distribution. Where will you place your investments in this marketplace?