Meet the Founders: Energy Tech Recap
March 30, 2021
DBP hosted the second session of its Meet the Founders virtual series on March 11, featuring Ilona Wilcox, COO and co-founder of clean energy startup Urban Energy, Jared Della Valle, CEO and co-founder of Alloy Development, and Shaun Hoyte, the Program Manager for Small and Medium Business Energy Efficiency Initiatives at Con Edison. During the live-streamed conversation, Ilona, Jared and Shaun shared about their work and experience, barriers they have faced, as well as their insights on what’s to come in the energy sector.
Wilcox began the webinar sharing her founder’s story with Urban Energy and its role in equipping NYC homes with the solar canopy, a first-of-its-kind product designed specifically for New York City’s multi-family buildings. She also shared that she was “most excited about the emerging innovations that facilitate the adoption of construction technologies in emerging markets like innovation tools, creative financing, etc.”
Della Valle spoke of Alloy Development’s mission to make Brooklyn beautiful, equitable and sustainable.“In thinking about sustainability and urban energy in general, targeting sites that have sufficient access to transportation is a priority.” Della Valle explained the significance of the Downtown Brooklyn transport hub when thinking of urban energy. Alloy Development’s mixed-use development, 100 Flatbush, the first all-electric skyscraper in New York City, addresses the carbon excess created by buildings, a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. With this project, Alloy Development hopes to lead the industry and create a demand for clean energy in buildings.
Hoyte spoke about helping customers adopt more energy efficient solutions at Con Edison. His work with small business customers involves designing and implementing incentive programs that advance the adoption of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), improve efficiency, and defer the need for traditional capital infrastructure investment. He talked about the need for but also the challenges in providing safe and reliable energy while also adopting new technologies. “It’s like flying a plane and updating it at the same time without crashing it,” Hoyte reflected.
The speakers discussed new technologies, as well as challenges in clean energy adoption, including how given the fast-paced nature of technology, policy and process changes can be slow and difficult, especially due to competing priorities and inter-governmental agency processes in the energy sector. Other challenges discussed included old existing infrastructure and buildings, lack of transparency in incentive programs, and hard-to-perceive future benefits. The speakers ended the session with some advice for anyone who wants to make an impact in New York City in the energy sector. Della Valle had some advice for young students: “I encourage entrepreneurship. There is never a better time to begin a business than now. You’re young, you have the energy. Use it!”
Curious to learn more? Watch the conversation here.