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In a bid to combat rising energy costs, an energy software start-up has enlisted PhD skills to optimise the management of batteries connected to solar power systems.

Founded in San Francisco, Growing Energy Labs Inc.’s local operation, Geli Australia, partnered with APR.Intern to reduce customer energy costs by employing cutting-edge optimisation research.

Monash University IT PhD, Shan (Dora) He, was placed into a 5-month internship project with Geli Australia, which resulted in the delivery of a proof of concept for enhancements to Geli’s demand charge management optimisation.

For Dora, the industry experience was an opportunity to apply her expertise in mathematical optimisation and computer science skills to a real-world problem.

“Throughout my internship, I learnt that technical skills are important, but the soft skills to deliver successful outcomes are just as crucial. I believe the experience will support my career in both industry and academic sectors,” 


Dora He, PhD Intern at Geli Australia

Senior Staff Data Scientist at Geli, Zach Ernst, said Dora’s expertise in optimisation was of great interest to Geli.

“Dora’s research and analysis provided us with a strong jumping-off point to introduce new and innovative approaches to optimisation into our systems,” 


Zach Ernst, Geli Senior Staff Data Scientist 

With only 2% of Australian businesses reporting engagement in innovation, Zach believes the relationship between research and industry is key to future-proofing business with innovation opportunities.

“Government support for early-stage R&D is critical to the diversity of technical progress we can achieve as a global society,” he added.