We talked to Radoslav Stompf, CEO and co-founder of FUERGY, a technology company providing solutions for energy optimization, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Radoslav Stompf: My family and I are successfully avoiding the virus, which I am truly grateful for. My son falls into the risk category, so we are particularly careful in order to protect him. Yet, I feel so useless watching my colleagues or friends fighting for life. In a situation like this, it is better to focus on what we can change. For me, it is keeping our business growing.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded FUERGY.
Radoslav Stompf: I’ve spent my whole professional career in the energy sector. I’ve got a chance to work in various job positions so I could deeply understand different energy processes and principles. Before we founded FUERGY, I was doing energy optimization for big industrial and manufacturing companies. I saw the limits of the energy sector, which urgently needs to be modernized and decarbonized, and I realized that a big part of the optimization processes I’ve been working with could be applied not only on a much smaller scale but even on a household level.
So I helped to create an interconnected ecosystem where every consumer, every renewable energy source, or energy storage is an active and valuable participant who can share the energy with others.
How does FUERGY innovate?
Radoslav Stompf: Our technology allows us to use energy sources and storage to the fullest. The Sun delivers more energy to Earth in an hour than we use in a year from fossil, nuclear and all renewable sources combined. Deployment of photovoltaic systems in combination with smart storage solutions is our formula for transition to clean energy. Our software works with online data and AI predictions, so it knows what is the available production capacity of the energy sources and storage capacity of batteries and tries to get the most out of them. What is more, it works autonomously.
At FUERGY, we manage the energy flow in a very complex and decentralized way. We don’t focus on one particular process. Every energy storage, solar panel, electric vehicle, home appliance, HVAC system is managed individually but also as a part of a larger group. We are constantly searching for synergies to assure that energy is produced and used efficiently, without unnecessary waste, and does not destabilize the power grid.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Radoslav Stompf: The biggest issue we are currently dealing with is the lengthy administration processes and paperwork. We used to struggle with the bureaucracy even before the pandemic, and the remote operation is not making it any easier. Surprisingly, the interest in green solutions is growing despite the fact that the economies are facing one of the biggest crises of all time. Renewable energy has simply become the cheapest energy source, and investing in green energy is now both financially and ethically attractive.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Radoslav Stompf: The pandemic came in the worst possible moment for us. A deal with the investor we considered almost sealed was cancelled at the very last moment and caught us unprepared. This was our first major misfortune and far from being the last one. The biggest lesson learned is to have not only plan “B” but also plan “C.” On the other hand, situations like these helped us to shape our whole project into what it is today and made us rethink our business models, which are now proving to be the right move—for example, the Energy-as-a-Service model.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Radoslav Stompf: We are a relatively small company of about 30+ employees, so we are able to handle the situations individually. The key is to lead by example. When everyone is tired and swallowed by the routine, it is on management to keep the company moving forward at any price. A visionary, optimistic and confident attitude works well not only internally but also while doing business.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Radoslav Stompf: The complexity of our project makes it very unique and gives us an advantage over our competitors. We have created our own AI-powered software development platform on which we build our applications and which meets the special needs of the energy sector.
The core of our solution is energy management. Smart battery storage or other applications are complementary products that make energy management more efficient and sustainable. We constantly develop the project from the core out. With every new project, there are new challenges to overcome but also ideas for complementary applications that make our work easier and generate better results.
With our solutions and synergic effects that we achieve, we don’t see any major competition on the local markets – Slovakia and the Czech republic. Of course, due to changes in legislation, technical conditions, and significant subsidies from the state or European Commission, new competitors will emerge. Companies that are already active in the energy market can be such a competition. FUERGY may have at least a 2-year advantage over them.
On the global field, Tesla is the only one that has similar ambitions in the energy sector. But comparing FUERGY in Europe and Tesla operating mainly in the US, Australia, and predominantly markets, where the availability of electricity is limited, is bold. Over time, and mainly due to the planned subsidies for decentralized energy, several entities with partial solutions will certainly be involved in the energy segment.
We can also see the big oil companies entering the field of energy decentralization. They have immense capital, and they no longer see the future for oil. They are buying smaller companies and invest in their development.
Particularly huge competition is in the battery industry. Basically, every company in the world that has material resources, access to technology, and available funds has decided to manufacture batteries. This is good for us as we are not manufacturing our own batteries. The more battery manufacturers there are on the market, the wider choices we have. It also pushes the prices of batteries down at high speed.
Your final thoughts?
Radoslav Stompf: The clock is ticking for our planet. The first wave of pandemic during which a substantial part of the transportation was cancelled and factories were shut down resulted in a significant drop in the greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time in 30 years, the peaks of the Himalayas became visible from a distant region of Punjab. This happened practically overnight and showed our enormous influence on the environment. We should therefore do everything we can to make this temporary exception an everyday reality. Recycling plastics is not enough.
The energy sector is one of the biggest polluters and stands at the beginning of the whole production chain. Renewable, zero-emission energy sources should be our top priority in the upcoming years because electric vehicles are not much cleaner than diesel cars when you charge with energy coming from fossil fuels.
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