On.Energy’s battery systems enable businesses to avoid peak energy prices

By Riley Kaminer

Alan Cooper and Ricardo de Azevedo exhibited signs of being entrepreneurs at an early age. Growing up in Venezuela, they would throw parties for their high school friends and charge an entry fee.

Now, Cooper and de Azevedo’s initiative is just as electric – but in this case, literally. The duo are co-founders of On.Energy, a Miami-based startup that designs, builds, and operates energy storage solutions – all with the ultimate goal of creating a low-carbon future.

De Azevedo’s path from party promoter to energy entrepreneur was not particularly linear. It included stints at major investment banks, launching a frozen yogurt shop in Hialeah (“it’s still there!” de Azevedo proudly proclaimed), and a master’s in engineering at FIU.

Around 2016, de Azevedo linked back up with Cooper, who was working in the oil and gas industry at the time. The duo realized that solar was picking up, but they felt like they were too late to hop on that trend. So instead, they went one step forward in the value chain: batteries.

“We were inspired by advanced microgrid systems in California that really pioneered the application of energy storage systems for what is called ‘behind the meter’ and ‘peak shaving,’” de Azevedo, now On.Energy’s CTO, told Refresh Miami

The idea with peak shaving is that users charge and discharge batteries at different times to create energy efficiencies and avoid paying premium prices at peak times. Cooper and de Azevedo realized that this technology was not available in Latin America yet and decided that they could be the ones to bring it to the region.

At first, the duo tried to find an off-the-shelf solution to buy. “But there wasn’t one, so we said that we can build it ourselves,” recalled de Azevedo. 

On.Energy is an end-to-end solutions provider. While it is not a manufacturer, it does have its own proprietary software that the company uses to connect its own components. “We are technology agnostic and very selective,” asserted de Azevedo. “We know who the top providers are and we pick and choose the best solutions for each application.”

On.Energy now has around 90 full-time employees, about 10 of whom are based in South Florida. Its clients include industrial businesses, airports, and more.

The startup has three main business models. One is where On.Energy sells the system and operates it. The second is an ‘energy storage as a service’ model where On.Energy stores and finances the system, sharing the profits with their customer. 

The third model, which On.Energy is still working to develop, involves becoming an independent power producer (IPP). This strategy requires capital, however. To that end, On.Energy raised a $20 million Series B equity fundraise from Ultra Capital. On.Energy is particularly interested in entering the Texas market, where it believes it can help enhance the stability of the state’s electricity grid. Last fall, On.Energy raised $110 million ($100 million in project funding, $10 million in equity).

“This new foray into IPP is really taking our destiny into our own hands,” said de Azevedo. Thanks to the recent Inflation Reduction Act, “The US is going to become an amazing market for energy storage. And I’m excited to develop bigger, badder projects – always pushing the envelope and keeping innovating on our solutions and our software.”

On-site photo of battery storage systems that On.Energy has developed in North America. At top of post is Ricardo de Azevedo, co-founder and CEO of On.Energy. Photos provided by On.Energy.


Riley Kaminer