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Exclusive: Emrgy raises $18M Series A for distributed hydropower

Emrgy turbines in a canal in Denver. Photo: Courtesy of Emrgy.

Emrgy has closed an $18.4 million Series A to electrify canals and other waterways with hydroelectric turbines, the company tells Axios.

Why it matters: The startup's modular design enables cheaper, flexible generation without the environmental impacts of traditional dams.

Details: Oval Park Capital led, joined by Fifth Wall, Blitzscaling Ventures, Overlay Capital, and Veriten.

  • Emrgy raised another $7.8 million in convertible notes, in addition to the $18.4 million, per a Form D filed with the SEC in February.
  • The round closed in February.

How it works: Traditional hydroelectric dams convert water pressure into electricity.

  • Emrgy, based in Atlanta, manufactures turbines that generate electricity from the flow of water instead.

Zoom in: Each module is 5 KW to 25 KW. An array tends to span 2 MW to 10 MW, roughly comparable to community solar.

  • The levelized cost of energy ranges from $40 to $90. That's in line with community solar and rooftop solar.

Meanwhile, Emrgy turbines qualify for the investment tax credit or production tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, CEO Emily Morris tells Axios.

What they're saying: "We are taking that natural flow and turning it into electricity at a density that's comparable to distributed solar, community solar, yet has a 24-hour-generation profile," Morris says.

Between the lines: Jennifer McFarlane, the former CFO of solar tracking manufacturer Nextracker, joined the board along with Bob Kelly, former CFO of SolarCity, the solar installer owned by Tesla.

What's next: Emrgy has developed commercial projects with Denver Water, Davis and Weber Counties Canal Company, and Oakdale Irrigation District domestically. It has another project in New Zealand and a pilot in South Africa.

  • It plans to open a regional manufacturing facility in Aurora, Colo., with monthly capacity of 5 MW.
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