From May 17-18, developers, designers and clean energy professionals gathered in Oakland for Powerhouse’s annual SunCode hackathon. In just 24 hours, teams developed their own clean energy startups that addressed challenge statements provided by event sponsors Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), SunPower, EDF, Renault Nissan Mitsubishi, Total, Mosaic and Schneider Electric.
The SVCE challenge statement focused on retrofitting single-family homes to be all-electric. Natural gas, used in most California homes for space and water heating, is a major source of carbon pollution from buildings. Switching to electric appliances is safer, cheaper and better for the environment.
Of the 20 teams participating, four chose SVCE’s challenge statement, demonstrating a strong interest in home electrification. After a full day of coding, the teams pitched their solutions and the judges chose winners for first, second and third place cash prizes of $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. The audience voted on the people’s choice award, a prize of $1,000. The winners for first place, third place and the people’s choice award were teams that chose SVCE’s challenge statement.
The grand prize went to Team Retrofit, which solved SVCE’s challenge with a user-friendly online survey. The program used photos and visual information to help customers identify what types of appliances they have, then provided solutions for energy and cost savings that promote electrification.
The third-place winner, Team ElectriCasa, developed an app that allowed users to simply upload photos of their existing home appliance serial numbers and returned information about their age and efficiency. The app also calculated when the appliances should be replaced and estimated cost savings and rebates by switching to electric.
Team Houston, We Solved a Problem, won the people’s choice award for a tool that incorporated elements of mapping, community engagement and financing to build an electrification campaign. The tool prioritized communities based on gas usage and would help residents switch to electric appliances by finding rebates and vendors.
“SunCode brings together an amazing group from both inside and outside of the clean energy industry to build solutions to accelerate the adoption of clean energy around the world,” said Emily Kirsch, Powerhouse Founder and CEO. “SVCE’s challenge presented a real-world problem–the many barriers to home electrification–and participants responded with incredible creativity in their solutions. We look forward to see what comes out of these innovative submissions.”
SVCE is proud to support local innovators and their creative solutions to improve access and education for clean energy technologies that benefit our customers and the environment.