ENGIE x Fondation Solar Impulse

In 2017, a natural partnership arose between ENGIE – which aims to become the leader in carbon-neutral transition – and the Solar Impulse Foundation, co-founded by Bertrand Piccard, who piloted the first solar-powered, zero-emissions transatlantic flight, to identify a thousand clean, efficient and profitable solutions.



The Solar Impulse Foundation

When in 2016 Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg managed to fly 40,000 km around the world in a solar-powered plane without using a single drop of fuel, it was a historic first and an unprecedented showcase for clean technologies and renewable energies. The echo of this technological success story among many governments, institutions, companies and celebrities around the globe prompted Bertrand Piccard to create the Solar Impulse Foundation.

The Foundation's objective is to bridge the gap between ecology and economy by reducing our impact on the environment while promoting economic development.

To achieve this, the Foundation has set itself the challenge of identifying 1000 clean, efficient and cost-effective solutions to encourage institutional authorities and other decision-makers to set more ambitious environmental objectives and energy policies.

Bertrand Piccard said : 


"Governments, companies and institutions must – as a matter of urgency – abandon their minimal targets and commit to far more ambitious environmental and energy policies, focusing their negotiations and action plans on what clean and profitable technologies can actually offer today. Not just for future generations, but for today's industry and for the planet and its inhabitants"


On 30 April, under the leadership of Bertrand Piccard, President of the Solar Impulse Foundation, twelve company bosses, including Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, pledged, in a forum at "Le Monde", to implement very concrete actions to ensure a clean recovery of the world economy.
Coronavirus: "Clean and cost-effective solutions are a powerful lever for qualitative rather than quantitative economic growth".


"In order to bring about a more sustainable world, we must take concrete actions. Solutions to reduce CO2 emissions already exist. As a major actor in the energy sector, ENGIE has a key role to play and we intend to contribute to massively expand them.” Jean-Pierre Clamadieu. 



A shared vision for a positive-impact partnership

Since 1 January 2017, ENGIE has been sharing its expertise in helping to identify the one thousand clean, efficient and profitable solutions that the Solar Impulse Foundation is seeking.

This partnership came about quite naturally, since ENGIE and the Solar Impulse Foundation have a shared vision: they want to reconcile positive impact and economic performance.

Indeed, on the one hand, ENGIE has placed the triple P approach – Planet, People and Profit – at the heart of its strategy, factoring climate and social impact into its company's performance criteria, in addition to more conventional economic criteria. On the other hand, the Solar Impulse Foundation wants to bridge the gap between ecology and economy, reducing the impact on the environment while promoting economic development.

The shared aim is therefore to pool such clean solutions and to speed up their development, reconciling initiatives to protect the environment with economic profitability.

ENGIE and the Foundation also have shared values in relation to innovation, action, sustainable development and harmonious progress.

All of these points in common mean that this partnership is a major opportunity to speed up our collective action to bring about a form of progress that is more harmonious, serving the carbon neutral transition.

The partnership is due to last for four years, until 31 December 2021.

To date, 9 solutions from ENGIE have received the Foundation’s seal of approval: PowerCorner, Community Solar, District cooling systems, Vertuoz Pilot, Livin’, Heliatek, DERMS Mobile Storage and BOXX and Solar Quest.

Solutions from ENGIE with the Solar Impulse Foundation seal of approval


Solar Quest - An electric space heater with an integrated battery.
Solar Quest is an efficient heating technology and energy management system. This heater fine tunes to users’ needs while its battery charges off peak or with renewable energy surplus and discharges to prevent it from consuming power during peak hours. Solar Quest’s purpose is to develop the V2 of heater, able to reinject power stored in the battery into buildings’ grid to power other devices. Solar Quest features are heating, storing and its embedded intelligence. With its infrared radiant panel provide an instantaneous warmth feeling while ensuring a stable temperature and optimal comfort. Finally, the device learns from consumer's habits to optimize power consumption without reducing comfort.


PowerCorner offers reliable, sustainable and affordable energy services through off-grid mini-grids serving rural customers in developing countries. PowerCorner is an internal start-up within the ENGIE Group with a long-term service commitment towards its customers.  The primary focus of PowerCorner is to support income-generating activities, thereby sustainably improving the living conditions of its customers.

Solar Community is a solar power plant whose electricity is shared by several users, thus enabling more people to access affordable solar power. Customers can hire a solar power "share", so they can switch over to solar power without needing a special roof… or any kind of roof at all. This makes it an option for people who rent the property in which they live or work.

District cooling systems: Since 1991, ENGIE has been developing and operating one of the largest district cooling systems in the world – CLIMESPACE in Paris. Spread over ten production sites, all of which are powered exclusively using renewable electricity, the system generates cooled water which it supplies to more than 600 clients (hotels, offices, retailers, etc.) – via a 73-km long underground network. District Cooling Systems generate an equivalent cooling effect and can reduce water and electricity consumption by up to 65% compared with stand-alone plants.

Vertuoz Pilot optimises energy consumption, creating a balance between occupants' comfort and energy savings. It is made up of connected objects installed on site which send measurements read remotely over the Internet to an artificial intelligence algorithm. This algorithm then simultaneously factors in site conditions, consumption targets and various other constraints which can be configured. It then sends a list of actions and orders to actuators installed on site which control heating, lighting and other data on which they are required to perform operations.


Livin’: Designed to meet the needs of urban infrastructure managers, Livin’ is an urban data management platform for monitoring, managing, viewing and creating value from data from connected infrastructure. Livin’ software goes beyond data aggregation to improve efficiency in urban environments and to help engage with citizens.


Heliatek: Converting the sun’s rays into electricity means being able to meet the energy needs of the world’s population from an infinite primary resource: with photovoltaic solar, there is no risk of depleting the world’s reserves. And using the organic solar films developed by start-up Heliatek, flexible, thin and recyclable, everyone can produce their own green electricity.


DERMS Mobile Storage: Modular, flexible and patented battery solution. This battery fits into a container that can be moved around to meet temporary energy needs – for an event, during electricity consumption peaks or on a construction site.


BOXX: tracking and interacting with utilities consumption, at your fingertips wherever you may be. This touchscreen and its mobile app make a powerful tool for tracking electricity, natural gas and water consumption in real time. Users receive alerts and can take advantage of proactive, customisable and actionable services giving them control of their consumption at all times, together with a smart thermostat for keeping their home comfortable and efficient.