ConnectDER, a startup with a smart meter socket device that’s been deployed in the thousands by select U.S. utilities to support distributed solar, has closed a $7 million series B round round to help roll out a new version of its system targeting behind-the-meter batteries and plug-in electric cars.
This week’s round was led by Clean Energy Ventures, Skyview Ventures and Avista Development, the unregulated arm of Pacific Northwest utility Avista. The round brings the Arlington, Va.-based startup’s total funding to date to about $11 million, including a $1.1 million Series A in 2017 and about $850,000 in funding from early-stage sources including the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative.
ConnectDER’s role with SunShot was to tap the potential of the meter socket — the round hole where the typical North American meter plugs into a building’s electrical system — as “an underutilized asset for onboarding DERs to the grid,” CEO Whitman Fulton said. Distributed energy resources primarily refer to rooftop solar panels, but DERs can also include behind-the-meter batteries, plug-in electric vehicles, smart appliances or home energy controls.
ConnectDER’s solution is a meter collar that plugs in between the meter and the socket, with metering, data-collection capability and computing power commensurate with the latest generation of smart meters. This allows utilities that haven’t yet deployed smart meters to gain the visibility into minute-by-minute operations of solar systems and other DERs.