Reliable power is, and will always be, a necessity for maintaining the standards of modern life. But faced with the harsh reality of today’s weather-related natural disasters, like statewide power shut-offs during California wildfires and the longest blackout in U.S. history following hurricanes in Puerto Rico, the need for clean, low-carbon energy resilience has never been stronger.
Fortunately, society has also become more environmentally-conscious, favoring alternative energy over fossil fuels. Although solar PV plus battery storage has surged in popularity among homeowners and 2019 was a record year for microgrid installations at the commercial level, adoption of microgrids must accelerate in order to reach climate goals and achieve true preparedness for natural disaster events. So, with all things considered, why are microgrids not more prolific?
Though seemingly nascent, advanced microgrid technology has been available for years. Mainstream adoption, however, is slow due to the complexity of integrating multiple generations sources, such as solar PV, battery storage, the electric grid and potentially a generator. Many clean energy providers familiar with solar recognize the value of microgrids as a ‘solar-plus-storage with resiliency’ option that would give them a competitive advantage, yet lack field experience with microgrid installations to include it as a service.
That’s where Ageto comes in.
The Ageto ARC Microgrid Controller is an operator-focused microgrid energy management system that coordinates and dispatches a site’s various distributed energy resources to seamlessly deploy reliable, clean energy capable of powering everything from commercial buildings to off-grid communities.
Intuitive Technology Simplifies Microgrid Integration
Ageto’s approach to technology comes from its founders’ real-world, hands-on expertise in power systems. With background knowledge in all aspects of a project, including onsite commissioning, performance monitoring, technician training and technical support, Ageto created a microgrid solution combining advanced hardware and intuitive software that seamlessly integrates microgrid components into a comprehensive system.
While many in the microgrid controller market have taken the approach of trying to adapt utility-scale control systems into commercial-scale solutions, this causes two main obstacles. For one, these systems are not user-friendly and instead rely on the end-user having extensive knowledge in power systems. Secondly, these systems are priced and sized for utility solutions, not smaller commercial projects. Imagine shrinking an interface intended for an 80-inch flat screen in a control room down to fit a computer screen in a small electrical room.
Instead, Ageto’s technology approach is more likened to an operating system designed to manage a microgrid’s functionality that is intuitively designed for those wanting both a high-level overview and those wanting deep technical information. By understanding the people who are going to interact with the system the most and how they are going to use the information, Ageto made strategic design decisions that benefit multiple user types.
A simple touch-screen interface provides integrators and technicians with critical performance information, while also featuring easy-to-understand icons that make it clear enough for system owners to interpret. On the same portal, system owners have access to the insights they care about most, like the amount of carbon their building offsets or how many days their system ran solely on renewables.
Using the data historian embedded in the control system, which can also be accessed remotely, the Ageto ARC microgrid controller provides a 360-degree view of how the entire system is performing, giving the operator one point of reference rather than monitoring the solar PV, battery and generator systems individually. This simplicity also greatly reduces customer support calls and provides peace of mind for the operator.
Though resilience is one of today’s most pressing goals, renewable energy technology must be able to intuitively and holistically work together to create a truly resilient power source. Using advanced technology, Ageto ARC is the overarching operating system that links together a fully-functioning microgrid system end-to-end.