Q: What exactly does your software do for the customer?
A: It's a real-time decision tool, and we monitor our customers' consumption of power all day. The price of electricity for large consumers is based on how much energy they consume but also their peak monthly usage. And if their peak is high when the system peaks, they pay what is called a demand charge, which can be very high. We help them shift usage off peak and sell the energy savings back to the grid.
Q: You have a real-time example of how this works, right?
A: One of SEPTA's biggest energy issues is the subway trains, because they're all electric. As the trains brake, they produce energy, and as they accelerate, they consume energy. They produce about 150 percent more energy when they decelerate than they need when they accelerate. So SEPTA had a surplus of power they had to get rid of, and they basically dumped it into a resistor. We said, "We can take that stored energy and sell it back to the market, which is useful for the grid and a good revenue source for you." It helps SEPTA reduce operating expenses by $400,000 to $500,000 a year. You're taking an organization that was a net consumer of energy to [become] a consumer and producer of energy, and doing it in a green way.
Q: A Japanese company, Mitsui, recently invested $15 million in Viridity. How'd that come about and what's it mean for you?
A: Mitsui is a trading company. They were looking for a partner in the U.S. They approached us about using our platform and adapting it to the needs of Asia and elsewhere. It's going to help us grow immensely.