Thursday, November 05, 2009

Smart Grid Software for Solar Projects by Gridpoint

GridPoint, Inc., an established leader in smart grid software, announced that it will provide storage management, renewable integration, and home energy management solutions for Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) smart grid solar project, the recipient of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. GridPoint worked with the utility to draft the proposal, which is part of $117.6 million allocated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in support of high penetration solar deployment projects.

SMUD’s project will evaluate how the integration of energy storage could enhance the value of distributed photovoltaic (PV) resources for the community, the utility and the grid by reducing peak loads, firming capacity and maximizing overall system efficiency. It will help build a strategy that can be replicated throughout SMUD’s service territory. The project will integrate energy storage into an existing PV environment, a residential solar community in Rancho Cordova, California, and test new consumer control concepts and PV inverter control within an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system.

“Energy storage is considered the holy grail because it is the key to bringing significant quantities of renewable energy onto the grid. When it can be easily controlled by both a utility and consumers, it offers a compelling solution for optimizing the grid,” said Peter L. Corsell, CEO, GridPoint. “We are pleased to be partnering with SMUD on this deployment, which will likely provide significant lessons for the industry as a whole.”

GridPoint’s software will monitor and control solar production and storage assets in real time, allowing SMUD to determine how to make them a predictable and more valuable energy resource. GridPoint’s software will be used to dispatch stored energy from advanced batteries to reduce peak demand, power or back up homes’ critical loads, charge the batteries, or export solar into SMUD’s distribution system.

The integration of GridPoint’s software with SMUD’s AMI system will facilitate household load control via GridPoint’s home energy management portal, a critical element of the project. The portal will allow consumers to view household energy usage, PV production and output, and energy storage capacity, and also receive and respond to real-time pricing signals from SMUD to curtail usage during periods of peak demand.

GridPoint’s capabilities will also enable the utility to evaluate whether capacity firming and advanced pricing signals influence consumer behavior. And it will allow SMUD to observe consumer preferences and interaction with the technology in order to provide innovative services and increase the effectiveness of energy conservation programs.

“We expect that both SMUD and our customers will benefit from GridPoint’s capabilities, which include providing flexibility to home owners in managing their energy use and balancing the load curve to improve overall reliability and efficiency,” said Jim Shetler, SMUD Assistant General Manager, Energy Supply.

GridPoint’s software aggregates and manages an intelligent network of distributed energy resources that controls load, stores energy and produces power. Utilities efficiently balance supply and demand, improve grid reliability and empower consumers with user-friendly software to manage energy consumption. With GridPoint’s interoperable enterprise-class server technology, utilities rapidly integrate and manage emerging technologies, resulting in a practical path to developing a clean, efficient 21st century grid.

GridPoint is working with utilities nationwide including Austin Energy, Duke Energy and Xcel Energy. The company was recently named to the Global Cleantech 100 and in 2008 was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

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