ME SOLshare Wins Free Electrons’ Best Energy Startup 2018 Award

Oct 16, 2018

Tokyo, October 16, 2018 – Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO) announced today that Free Electrons, a global energy accelerator program that connects the world’s most promising startups with world-leading utilities including TEPCO, presented its 2018 Best Energy Startup Award to ME SOLshare, a revolutionary community direct-current (DC) solar-power micro-grid. ME SOLshare founders Sebastian Groh, Hannes Kirchhoff, and Daniel Ciganovic received the award and a USD 200,000 prize at the Free Electrons Grand Finale in Berlin on October 5.

The Best Energy Startup 2018 program attracted 43 pilot projects and new contracts exceeding USD 3 million for the participating startups.

“We are delighted with the results of this year’s Best Energy Startup program, particularly the many promising opportunities it has created for business between innovative startups and world-leading utilities including TEPCO,” said Shinji Akatsuka, CEO & President of TEPCO Ventures.

ME SOLshare established the world’s first peer-to-peer solar-energy grid in a remote area of Bangladesh, home to five million installed solar home systems nationwide, in 2015. The technology allows for peer-to-peer electricity trading between off-grid households connected to solar panels. During the program, ME SOLshare announced that it raised USD 1.66 million under its Series A round, which is subscribed by a fund backed by investors including utilities Innogy and EDP, both Free Electrons members.

The complete list of Free Electrons members includes AusNetServices (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore) and TEPCO (Japan), plus American Electric Power (USA) and CLP (Hong Kong), both of which joined the program this year. Free Electrons is supported by Beta-i (Portugal).

Intensive six-month collaborations between the 15 startups and the utilities, focused on linking innovation with practical business opportunities, which resulted in unparalleled new business development for the participants.

Compared to the program’s first year in 2017 the Free Electrons 2018 program exceeded all key metrics: more applications (450→515), more countries involved (51→65), more utilities (two joined in 2018), a bigger customer base (70 million→80 million) and more startups joining the acceleration phase (12→15), as well as more deals and increased total contract value.

The 10 global utilities involved with the program conducted cutting-edge proof of concept projects aligned with their growth strategies. All participants in Free Electrons 2018 benefited directly from the program’s hyper-collaborative environment, most notably startups that were able to participate in multi-partner pilots or received investments from more than one utility.

The 2018 Free Electrons finalists were Adaptricity, EQuota, Fresh Energy, Greenbird, GridCure, GridWatch, Howz,, Kinsensum, Loqr, Orison, ME SOLshare, Sterblue, Relectrify and Verv, which were selected from 500 applicants.


Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TSE: 9501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan serving millions of homes and businesses. Worldwide the company has more than 34 subsidiaries and 32 affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 42,060 people. Consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled 5.3 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information visit

 About TEPCO Ventures

TEPCO Ventures is a Tokyo-based wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc., Japan’s largest electrical utility. TEPCO Ventures develops both wholly owned subsidiaries within the TEPCO Group and joint-venture companies with partners in various industries either in Japan or overseas. The company is exploring various fields for next-generation business by fusing platforms for energy and other industries.

 About Free Electrons

The Free Electrons Program is the best opportunity for startups in the energy space to grow and develop their businesses. The energy market has seen rapid changes in recent years with the rise of renewables, decentralization of the energy system, regulatory uncertainties and disruptive new technologies. To stay ahead, there is a strong need for utilities to source more innovation externally and consider the ‘beyond utilities’ business models.

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