PROVIDENCE – The Slater Technology Fund will invest an additional $100,000 in local energy-management firm VCharge, bringing Slater’s total investment in the company to $600,000, Slater announced Monday.
Slater also announced the award of $280,000 to VCharge through the R.I. Economic Development Corporation’s Renewable Energy Fund grant program.
“This is a good example of how Slater and the Renewable Energy Fund can work together to build energy companies in the state,” said Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund. “Slater helped seed VCharge while they built their technology and focused on customer traction, but the Renewable Energy Fund, which has catalyzed an expanding portfolio of solar assets in Rhode Island, understood the nuances of renewables integration, and the benefits of optimizing the grid. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with them to help VCharge attract new end-users, and get traction with grid operators.”
VCharge’s “SmartBricks” heating-system controls are installed in homes and businesses in Pennsylvania, Maine and Massachusetts. VCharge manages clients’ heating in response to real-time prices and grid conditions to reduce heating expenses. SmartBricks-equipped heaters have also become a key asset for electric-grid operators as they prepare for the wider use and integration of renewable energy like wind and solar, Slater said. VCharge’s cloud-based platform allows electric-thermal storage heaters, electric cars and other devices to respond intelligently to changing conditions.
“The EDC is committed to working with partners such as the Slater Fund to support the growth of Rhode Island businesses like VCharge,” said Marcel A. Valois, executive director of the EDC, in a release. “It is through collaboration and partnerships that we can provide businesses with the necessary resources to grow and thrive in the state and create the economic conditions that will improve the quality of life for our citizens by promoting the state’s long-term economic health and prosperity.”