Helios Altas Getting Ready to Move to Scale in Small Hydropower

Helios Altas Getting Ready to Move to Scale in Small Hydropower

Helios Altas is getting ready to go big. We have reported on them in the past and they continue to hit new milestones.  They are now getting ready to scale, looking at manufacturing around the country. We hope they stay here. They certainly have opportunities to install their equipment in the state.

Clean energy advocates are of two minds on whether hydro should be counted as “green”.  Large hydroelectric dams supplied by huge reservoirs have been controversial as creating too much collateral environmental damage–destroying fish and wildlife habitat, interfering with fish migrations, trapping nutrient-rich silt, among other things.  As a result, there has been a compromise to favor only “small” hydro as part of the qualified renewable resources used to meet the 100% renewable goal or to qualify for funding from multilateral sources like the World Bank. Further, the expressed preference is for sites either where dams already exist but have never installed power generation turbines, or which do not require big water impoundments (“run of the river” installations).   However, the smaller the installation, the more costly it is in terms of cost per kilowatt. His solution overcomes many of those concerns and has been deployed in a variety of environments around the world while in demonstration mode.  

Helios Altas, founded by Mike Carrol and headquartered in Roseville, has taken a very clever, low-cost approach to come up with a simple device for taking advantage of even the smallest water flows. HIs device has a very elegant simple water wheel that requires only a channel to direct flows underneath it.  The company’s flagship products, PowerBall and PowerWheel produce clean electricity from moving water in canals, industrial water loops, rivers, tidal flows and the base of dams. They have been prototyping, deploying and confirming it is efficient enough to work in many circumstances. With this success, they are looking to move towards manufacturing and scaling to deploy the devices in California, where they already are used to power remote monitoring equipment, and in the rest of the world where they could power village microgrids.  They see applications to bring power to 900 million people in remote areas that currently do not have power. They have a great video explaining their device and its applications at the bottom of their home page.

Mike has had success in getting small irrigation districts and public power districts in the state interested and is working toward some substantial PPA agreements in the Philippines and Malaysia.  He has 1 kW and 2.5 kW units operating in demos and intends to produce units up to 10 kW in size. He believes he will soon see orders for 300 units. That would open up about two dozen new jobs to assemble and install the units.  

Helios Altas is one of the many companies in our region that have been working steadily and patiently for years to commercialize their innovations.  Now they seem ready to make a break-out move that will solidify their success for the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

Being a Small Fish, But Looking Bigger

Being a Small Fish, But Looking Bigger

It is never to early to start engaging with quality legal counsel when building your business. Like a monetary investment, small things early pay off greatly over time.  If you are have a startup and think a session with an experienced lawyer may help, sign up to join our Startup Legal Roundtable with Michelle Rowe Hallsten of Greenberg Traurig and begin to get on equal footing with the big fish.  We are pleased that she has agreed to be available exclusively for our cleantech cluster companies.

Why should you come?  Being a small startup in clean tech is rough.  Often companies are faced with collaborating with much bigger companies and investors who have experience they don’t, making them feel like a small fish in a big sea. Working with investors and their lawyers requires companies to have experienced professionals on their side. Especially when dealing with anything requiring a legal analysis.

Here’s an example:  Michael Carroll of small hydro equipment manufacturer Helios Altas has been an entrepreneur working with bigger players for years. While not lacking confidence in his business, he acknowledges there are areas he always gets help to keep on equal footing with partners, investors and governments. He knows having a well-rounded and experienced team is important to succeeding long term. Carroll wants to know more than what to do, he needs to know why.  Carroll says that Hallsten’s experience provides background enabling him to be confident in his decisions. Additionally, when negotiating, he sees the benefit of having strong representation when building collaborative agreements.

“I have been working with different lawyers for the better part of 20 year now though my business career. When I talk with Michele about different issues that arise, she has a way of counseling me that gives me the confidence to proceed forward with our decision that is invaluable.” – Michael Carroll,  Helios Altas

Does it sound like something you could use?  Then sign up and join us on May 21st.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

Helios Altas Getting Ready to Move to Scale in Small Hydropower

Helios Altas Hits New Milestones

Remember sitting outside at EcoFitness (on one of the hottest days of the year) hearing Mike Carroll talking about his Powerball small hydro technology at our June 21 MeetUp?  remember his excitement about being close to having a microgrid going operational in the Philippines with one of his units and some solar in a hybrid configuration? Well he did it!   It is all operational now.  You can learn more about the system that has provided first power to 150 people here: https://biofriendlyplanet.com/green-alternatives/solar/installation-of-the-firsthybrid-solar-micro-hydro-grid-project-in-the-philippines-is-complete/.  Mike adds, “With this system we have changed the architecture of the Powerball’s take off system which increased the power output of each of the units from 300 watts up to over 500 watts from the same water flow. This has enabled the village to expand the power usage well beyond what was originally intended. In the next phase of this project the Hydrofarm will be expanded by adding more PowerBall™ units and the battery storage will be doubled in size. The local electric co-op is expected to purchase the system to meet some of its RE credit requirements and also as a means for extending its supply grid to far flung areas of the Philippines such as Balingasag.” Mike also got an investor commitment to proceed with his 100-times larger capacity unit.  “We plan on this being the largest size unit we will manufacture,” Mike says. “This generator is approximately 2 meters in diameter, so it can be shipped in containers standing vertically. It will be able to produce up to 30 kW of power and multiple units can be installed in the same PowerWheel™ to produce more power.” While most of his attention has been focused overseas on rural areas without access to grid power, Helios also has a commitment from the Nevada Irrigation District to purchase 10 o fhte larger units when they are ready.   The next big milestone will be in putting together the $13 million in funding he is seeking to stay on track for over $200 million in sales in the next five years.   Great stuff!
Thomas Hall
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Website developed by Ryan McBride for Ellington Marketing Solutions