Home Feature Joules Accelerator connects “startups, utilities, industry, and venture” to create a stronger energy future

Joules Accelerator connects “startups, utilities, industry, and venture” to create a stronger energy future

by Maija Ehlinger

The race is on to decarbonize our economy, electrify our roads, and create a cleaner energy supply. Startups from around the globe are stepping up, leading to a boom of CleanTech venture funding over the last several years. 

But to really accelerate change, there needs to be stronger connections between “startups, utilities, industry, and venture,” says Ryan Rutledge, VP of Strategy & Innovation at Joules Accelerator. 

 Joules Accelerator , located in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been playing a crucial role in making those connections. The non-profit program focused on climate technologies, has gained national attention for the way it connects up-and-coming CleanTech startups with enterprise giants like Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, Dominion Energy,  National Grid Partners, S&C Electric Company, Siemens Energy, Honeywell, and municipal energy companies. 


Joules By The Numbers 

To date, the accelerator has worked with over 86 startups that have gone on to generate around $900 million in funding and create over 2,500 jobs. Its startups have also gone on to create important energy-related partnerships, pilots, or joint ventures with Duke Energy, Hertz Rental Cars, and other corporate sponsors. 

The program grew out of CLT Joules, a program designed to connect local energy companies throughout the region. The program switched to more of a startup accelerator over the years after realizing that the Energy and CleanTech industry was moving more downstream towards customer-facing products and that the industry as a whole was becoming more attractive to founders and young talent, making it a prime time to be an entrepreneur in the industry. 

Of the 86 startups that have gone through the program, Executive Director Bob Irvin told Hypepotamus that a good percentage come from California. But Southeast-based startups have been well represented from the beginning. Previous graduates include Southeast startups like Goodr, Soteria, Building Clarity, International ThermoDyne, Theorem Geo, Good Solar, and PlotWatt, to name a few. 

Each cohort lasts 90 days and is free for startups. As a non-profit, Joules Accelerator does not take any equity from its selected startups. But it provides valuable “quick and easy connections” and access to mentors throughout the program. 

The accelerator just wrapped its 12th cohort, meaning startups from across the country came to The Queen City to pitch their ideas and meet with Joules’ partner companies following a 90-day program. 

The selected seven startups were narrowed down from a list of well over 1,000 applications, Irvin said. 

That model has proven fruitful for startups, as the accelerator’s success stories reads a bit like a “who’s who” of the fast-growing EV and charging space. Previous participants Amply (acquired by BP), Atom Power (acquired by SK Holdings), WeaveGrid (backed by Salesforce Ventures and Coatue), and ChargerHelp have gone on to raise impressive venture rounds, see strong exits, or land important corporate partnerships. 


Meet The Latest Cohort

The latest selected startups are looking to replicate previous Joules Accelerator success stories. 

Moduly (Birmingham, AL): Moduly is a combination of DERMS & smart energy solution behind the meter with battery storage, smart home control and AI.

Gridware (Walnut Creek, CA): Gridware delivers grid resilience and reliability capabilities to grid operators through a mechanical sensor solution.

EarthEn Energy (Chandler, AZ): EarthEn is developing novel energy storage & AI solutions to enable renewable energy 24/7 for a decentralized Earth.

Cache Energy (Champaign, AL): Energy storage that can be safely installed anywhere and transported everywhere

ZippiAI (San Francisco, CA): Diagnostic software to eliminate energy waste and unplanned downtime.

Specifx (San Francisco, CA): B2B SaaS company, specializing in on-demand data enrichment and metadata retrieval for the HVAC industry.

Okovate (Oxon Hill, MD): Okovate is a black-owned firm that develops agrivoltaic projects (solar atop active farmland) 



We are excited to follow along as these startups grow following their time with the Joules Accelerator!


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