Photon Energy N.V. announced a strategic partnership with Lerta, a Polish next-generation energy company. The partnership is intended to strengthen Lerta’s business in the Polish market and expand its activities to Hungary and Romania, two of Photon Energy’s key markets. As part of this effort, Photon Energy successfully led Lerta’s second equity financing round with a PLN 4 million investment for a 12% stake, raising a total of PLN 7.5 million. The ValueTech Seed Fund also participated in this financing round, along with several other existing investors.
Photon Energy N.V. is an Amsterdam-based renewable energy company delivering solar energy and clean water solutions around the world, already present in Romania.
The new capital will be allocated to the development of Lerta’s Virtual Power Plant in Poland and to the launch of operations in new markets within the CEE region, where the company will work closely with Photon Energy. ‘We are very excited about our investment in and strategic partnership with Lerta. It comes at a time when PV plants have become market competitive energy sources across the CEE region,’ said Georg Hotar, CEO of Photon Energy Group. ‘Lerta’s capabilities put them at the cutting edge of the fast-changing energy sector and they will help us to profitably deploy PV assets at standard electricity market prices. We are looking forward to joint dynamic growth as we work closely with Lerta over the next few years.’
Lerta plans to use the raised capital mainly to build a leading market position in the CEE region. The company will grow its Origination & Trading teams and intends to enter the Hungarian market, where it seeks to take advantage of the photovoltaic boom, high balancing costs and the strong position of its new partner Photon Energy, which is listed on the regulated markets of the Warsaw and Prague Stock Exchanges and boasts extensive experience in implementing solar energy solutions in Central Europe and Australia.
‘The strategic partnership with Photon Energy is about much more than their equity investment. The synergies between both companies extend beyond the Polish market; most importantly to markets where Photon Energy has already been present and dynamically developing, such as Hungary and Romania,’ said Borys Tomala, Founder and CEO of Lerta. ‘We will jointly launch new business models tailored to Energy 4.0 and develop our business as a distributed energy aggregator. We are also very proud that our current investors have trusted us again and have decided to expand their involvement in our company.’
Lerta develops Virtual Power Plant technologies and services: the aggregation of generation sources and controllable loads, whose intelligent and automatic coordination allows for the stabilization of power systems based on weather-dependent renewable energy sources. Thanks to technology that is based on machine learning and real-time analysis of data from cooperating units, Lerta can optimize the position of energy producers and users and maximize their revenues on several markets simultaneously, including both the capacity market and the energy market as well as the balancing market, which is undergoing fundamental changes throughout the EU. “Every hour half a million data points from over 30,000 devices are transferred to our platform,” said Krzysztof Drożyński, Founder and CTO of Lerta. ‘We use unique, proprietary solutions, including in the field of artificial intelligence, to maximize revenues and savings for our customers, while supporting grid operators in stabilizing the power grid. On the back of the raised capital and through the support of European funds we will continue working on solutions enabling a low-carbon economy.”
Photon Energy has already indirectly invested in Lerta through its investment in the ValueTech Seed Fund, which led Lerta’s first financing round in 2018. The investment in the ValueTech Seed Fund is what originally brought Lerta to Photon Energy’s attention, and extensive discussions about a strategic alignment has convinced Photon Energy’s management to lead Lerta’s second equity round alongside the ValueTech Seed Fund, which is a relatively rare occurrence in the venture capital industry.