Copel Volt

Copel’s open innovation program seeks solutions in the area of energy in partnerships with startups from around the world.

Open innovation is a reality and companies from various sectors have sought competitiveness through this type of innovation. Its main characteristic is to find solutions for organizational processes, new markets or improvement of existing solutions with the partnership of startups.

Startups are companies whose main characteristics are that they have a lean structure, are technology-based, open to errors, and are adapted to rapid change. Their willingness to take risks are also a remarkable characteristic, since to create something from scratch one must not be afraid to dare and try.

Copel Volt, the Company’s open innovation program, arises as an initiative to insert Copel in the so-called innovation ecosystem, a term used to define the set of agents involved in the theme. Among its objectives are finding solutions and opportunities linked to Copel’s business, and improving its internal processes, taking advantage of the relationship with startups to promote employee education in methodologies and techniques linked to innovation, such as the agile method and Design Thinking.

The challenges proposed in the 2021/2022 edition followed the following themes: customer relations, focused on digital solutions; energy and beyond energy, focused on the diversification of revenue sources; new business models; innovative internal processes; clean energy and new energy matrixes; electromobility; asset and facility management; and energy storage.

The Copel Volt Program began with a public call, published in late 2020, resulting in the hiring of a consulting firm specialized in implementing open innovation programs in large companies, Beta-i.

The program consists of 8 phases:

Phase 1 (May to July 2021).

Capturing the challenges: stage characterized by the understanding of Copel’s business and was carried out through interviews, involving directors and employees from the base. The conclusion of this phase was marked by the delivery of a report with the main topics and conclusions covered in the interviews.

Phase 2 (July to August 2021)

Analysis and selection of challenges: at this point, the Innovation Committee, a team consisting of key people at Copel for decision making, looked over the challenges raised to elect the ones to be proposed. At this stage, the employees were also very involved in the process. The phase ended with training events on innovation and open innovation methodologies.

Phase 3 (August to October 2021)

Publicity and call for startups: phase in which we carried out a wide dissemination in different channels and waited for the enrollment of startups interested in Copel’s challenges.

Phase 4 (October 2021)

Analysis and preliminary selection: in this phase, a first selection of the registered startups was made and we called the chosen ones to the next phase.

Phase 5 (November 2021)

Presentation of the Pre-Selected Startups: in this stage, the chosen ones could present their projects on pitch day, which was a moment to demonstrate, in more detail, how they could help Copel in its challenges.

Phase 6 (November 2021)

Selection of startups by the Innovation Committee: once selected, the startups with the greatest adherence and conditions to bring value to Copel were announced.

Phase 7 (between August and November 2021)

Formation of the Support Team for the Selected Startups: This stage consisted of training Copel’s internal teams on the use of innovation methodologies, mentoring, and collaboration with startups. A process that brought a lot of learning to all Copel employees, directly or indirectly involved in the process. At the end of the process, there was the bootcamp with the 15 startups selected, the follow-up on their progress in the program, and finally the definition of the companies elected for the PoCs – Proof of Concept – phase, a moment in which the startup presents evidence that its solution can be successful.

Phase 8 (between November 2021 and March 2022)

Financial Support for the Execution of PoCs and Analysis of Results: in this phase, the development of the PoCs of the 5 startups that were selected in the bootcamp phase took place. At the end of the stage, the DemoDay was held, an event dedicated to demonstrating the results of the program.

Once the stages are over, Copel has materialized the best alternatives for the challenges proposed at the beginning of the program, and can start to make business viable, launching new products and services, reaching new markets.

The Proof of Concepts

Once the startups with proposals that best meet Copel’s challenges have been selected, we move on to the Proof of Concepts phase, in which the solutions are tested in real and controlled environments. Each startup has a mentor, specialized professionals who accompany and guide the development of the PoCs at Copel, and this is the Company’s point of contact with the entrepreneurs.

Get to know the projects:

Move: Brazilian startup that works with development of technological solutions for management and control of electric vehicle recharges. The project expands Copel’s electric railway in Paraná and integrates all the electro-stations into a single management system.

CUBi: Brazilian startup that collects all the data necessary to make the energy management of a company. The intelligence of the service is in the management of high-volume invoices, with automated analysis to detect opportunities for savings.

NEX Energy: The business allows registered companies to achieve up to 20% savings by renting a 100% renewable power plant from Copel – such as solar and wind power plants. The initiative is aimed at companies anywhere in the state of Paraná that spend between R$1,000 and R$20,000 on their electricity bills.

Prescinto: Indian startup that uses artificial intelligence to identify the causes of low performance and suggest actions to improve generation in clean energy plants. The pilot project analyzes the historical data from Copel’s clean energy projects, collected from the plants, to deliver a management proposal to increase the plants’ performance, also counting on the training of the control room professionals and on-site engineers and operation.

Watt-Is: startup from Portugal that translates smart metering data into valuable information to improve the consumer experience, especially in terms of efficient energy use. The pilot project will analyze, by an artificial intelligence system, the energy consumption data of about 5 thousand consumer units in Paraná that already have smart meters installed.