xsSPACE wins Powershop-Melbourne Energy Institute Energy Hack, with a marketplace connecting underutilised rooftop space to energy consumers.


The second annual Energy Hack has produced a batch of 17 bright new technology ideas, from solar panel rentals and subscription services that will move consumers onto the best energy deal to cheaper battery storage and community energy solutions.

More than 100 people participated in the event, a joint initiative of the Melbourne Energy Institute and Powershop Australia.

The eight-member judging panel selected xsSPACE as the winner, a marketplace which connects under-utilised rooftop space to energy consumers.

Runners-up included Rentaray, a business model that incentivises landlords to install solar system solutions for their tenants, and PowerTwitch, and automated bill analysis and switching tool to find consumers the best available deal.

Winners Ruqayyah Merchant, Patrick Blain, Kieran Sullivan, Kristoff Dippl, Vignesh Arun and Danny Bui only met over the weekend at the hack and received $5,000 for their idea, with second and third places receiving prizes such as legal assistance with the establishment of the start-up, Powershop power credits and dinner with the best minds in the Australian energy and start-up sectors.

xsSPACE’s marketplace connects those with underutilised spaces (such as rooftops) to energy consumers who want to participate in the renewable energy market (such as renters or investors). By finding a use for these “excess spaces,” the idea grows the renewable energy market in Australia and faciltiates a lower carbon future.

Over 100 particpants from around Australia spent 48 hours exploring innovative renewable energy ideas.

Powershop Australia head of commercial and strategy Michael Benveniste said, “Once again the talent, creativity and problem-solving mentality on display over the weekend was exceptional. Since the first Energy Hack last year we have launched Powershop Labs to continue to mentor and support renewable energy start-ups to commercialise their ideas.”

Benveniste said the winning idea is a fantastic solution for the energy industry as it shares benefits of renewables and improves overall outcomes for all. “We’re looking forward to working with this year’s winning team and all the other big ideas that have come out of the weekend to build ideas that could help shape the future of the energy industry.”

Melbourne Energy Institute director Professor Michael Brear said, “The high quality of the ideas pitched reflects the depth of the knowledge-sharing and collaboration at the event.  The Hack winners gave us a peek into the future.”

Judging panel:

Australian Energy Regulator CEO Michelle Groves

Australian Energy Market Operator executive general manager, office of innovation Jo Witters

Energy entrepreneur Simon Holmes à Court

Citipower/Powercor general manager corporate affairs Melissa O’Neill

Melbourne Energy Institute director Professor Michael Brear

Energy Consumers Australia director, strategic engagement and corporate counsel Sabiene Heindl

Powershop Australia head of commercial and strategy Michael Benveniste

Consumer Policy Research Centre CEO Lauren Solomon