Picture: Jan Senn and Christoph Grimm, EET, © Oliver Wolf

Smart living made easy

The young Styrian start-up EET stands for Efficient Energy Technology and is on the best way to revolutionize the energy consumption of households. Only recently, they have been awarded the DNP (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis Design), which is a major achievement in this sector.

The founders Christoph Grimmer, Stephan Weinberger and Florian Gebetsroither have met each other during their studies at the University of Technology in Graz and have become one of the success stories of the incubator for high tech startups science park Graz. Their product SolMate is an example of how a great idea turns into a congenial product with a unique design – and has the enormous potential of reducing our society’s ecological footprint as easily as possible. With comparatively minimal effort – from both the financial and the material perspectives – SolMate inspires with the simplest plug & play assembly and without paperwork and legal stumbling blocks.

“The storage system then supplies energy when electricity is needed. The associated battery stores the surplus, which means that a quarter of the electricity costs can be covered, ”says Jan Senn, EET’s Marketing Manager, simplifying the high-tech product. The self-generated electricity only runs in its own power grid, which is unique on the market to date. The European Low Voltage Directive now also creates legal backing for EET systems: “It is now possible in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy to connect SolMate to the socket easily and without time-consuming bureaucracy.”, Grimmer is relieved. Other countries are on the rise.

We have asked Jan Senn to give us and the network some exclusive insights into their year of 2020, their current status and what they are up for in 2021.

Hi Jan, how was 2020 for you, after all?

Jan: A very eventful and long year is slowly coming to an end and we can look back on many ups and downs. Due to the Corona crisis, which has been going on for almost a year now, some restructuring was necessary, which will bring many benefits for the future. In summer 2020 we were able to move into our new company building at Herrgottwiesgasse 207, in Puntigam. The new building offers enough space for big and bright offices, social rooms, warehousing and a large production hall. The new premises offer us the possibility to produce SolMates in house. Due to the in-house production, delivery bottlenecks can be avoided in the future and the dependence on large production partners is reduced. The first charge of SolMates is already manufactured directly in-house in 2020. This also enhances the quality of our products.

With the European Low Voltage Directive, you finally have an important legal background for your systems. What are the next plans for internationalization?

Jan: The new capacities allow us to think about issues such as internationalization and expansion. We currently work on building up the Italian market and plan to start selling our products there in 2021. Italy offers optimum weather and climate conditions in order to sell solar products. The Italian market also offers plenty of space for innovative competitors in the solar industry. There are still some bureaucratic regulations to clarify, but we are certain about selling our products in Italy in the middle of 2021. In addition to that, we further focus on enhancing our market presence and awareness in the DACH-region. Especially Germany is a very important market for us. The market for plug-in solar systems is rapidly growing there and there is no stagnation in sight.

Speaking of Germany, we have heard you landed a major success in receiving an award there?

Jan: We can also proudly announce that, some weeks ago, we won the DNP Design (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis Design) in the category of leading innovations. SolMate is one of the winners awarded out of almost 100 finalists. The DNP is the largest award for ecological and social commitment and awards contributions to the transformation into a sustainable future. The award shows the best examples of how ecological and social progress can be achieved more quickly. The German Sustainability Award is intended to provide guidance at a time when sustainability is more in demand than ever before. It does not just take focus on sustainability, but is rather a combination of design, innovation and adding value for society and environment. And this is what SolMate is standing for – design, sustainability and a real value for everyone.

Why do you put so much effort into design, is it just a personal passion and commitment to your product or is there another reason?

Jan: Sustainable design provides answers to all the great challenges of our time. The German Sustainability Award in Design awards the best solutions from all areas. It is intended to motivate designers to focus their work even more on sustainability and to provide the tailwind for their further success. Sustainable design can change people’s way of life.

We are glad that we can count ourselves among the winners and look back to a very exciting online event despite all of those difficult circumstances.

How would you summarize 2020 for you, as a company?

Jan: 2020 was, after all, a very successful year for EET and we look forward to an even more exciting time in 2021!

So do we! We are looking forward to hearing more of you and wish you all the best.