New Industry Products

Microgrid Controller Balances Demand with Generation and Storage

February 03, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Powerit Solutions today announced the introduction of its new Spara DM® Mircrogrid Controller. The new technology solution helps manufacturing facilities optimize their microgrids – on-site, renewable power and storage system networks – by continually balancing demand with generation. More than just managing storage, the Spara DM Microgrid Controller manages energy intensive loads and processes, tapping into inherent process storage to optimize the facility's consumption. Powerit Solutions' new Spara DM® Microgrid Controller helps minimize demand from the utility, which reduces both the facility's impact on the grid and its capacity charges.

In addition, the Microgrid Controller solution equips the facility to participate in advanced demand response programs that generate revenue for the enterprise and allow the utility to balance demand across the grid. Spara DM® Microgrid Controller builds on Powerit’s strong solution for managing loads, and incorporates the monitoring of local renewables, and the charging and discharging of local storage to manage a connected facility micro grid.

“The appeal of microgrids is clear,” says Kevin Klustner, CEO of Powerit Solutions. “They give industrial facilities more control over their energy supply and costs, provide a backup in case of grid outages, and relieve pressure on the utility grid. A reality is that harnessing process flexibility through load control can be an order of magnitude cheaper than installing batteries.”

Adds Klustner: “An often overlooked component is how to control the demand side of a micogrid. Our new Microgrid Controller solution helps with this control and lets facilities harness additional cost savings from their solar installations and manage electrical storage as part of a holistic facility microgrid. This solution is also exceedingly valuable, because it manages energy intensive equipment and taps into inherent process flexibility to absorb solar variability, reducing peak demand in the process.”

A number of Powerit customers are embracing the new Spara DM® Microgrid Controller, and the data shows that the solution is already yielding significant benefits – to industrial enterprises operating microgrids, and to the grid as a whole. Furthermore, Spara integrates with industrial automation systems, leveraging the infrastructure and adhering to process constraints to provide savings without impacting production.

In a scenario analysis for a manufacturing facility in Southern California, for example, demand management provided 5.5 percent in demand reduction on its own. A photovoltaic (PV) installation provided 1 percent reduction on it’s own, because while it produced energy during peak hours, a few cloudy days – or even hours – meant that a demand reduction wasn’t guaranteed. These peaks on cloudy days were managed and reduced by Powerit’s new Spara DM® Microgrid Controller solution, however. And, when the Powerit solution was added to the solar installation, demand reduction increased to 7.7 percent and incremental annual savings reached $48,000, thus improving the ROI of the PV installation.

“The math here is simple,” explains Klustner. “It’s 1 + 1 = 3. Solar provides kWh savings, but by adding our new Spara DM® Microgrid Controller solution, a manufacturing facility can boost kWh savings, further reduce costs and make its solar investment even more cost effective.”