Microgrid Management System Components
We design and manufacture the 3 components required to manage a microgrid:
Energy Management Software
Energy management software provides the program logic, communications, and human interface required to manage and optimize energy. Indie Power Systems developed all of the energy management software and firmware internally so that modular components can be scalable and upgradable. Communications and control can also operate seamlessly between Indie Power Systems components and third party systems to the extent allowed by the third party system.
Cost reduction software for end-users such as demand charge reduction and time-of-day load shifting is available. In addition, power quality software assists with power smoothing, power continuity, and Power Factor Correction (PFC).
Software can also enable ancillary services for electric utilities (the Grid) such as demand reduction as well as frequency and voltage regulation.
Software-only Building Energy Management
Software-only systems are limited in function as they can only turn things on and off. But using rules to turn things on and off can reduce demand charges by restricting the time when loads can be turned on (such as HVAC) and by using a building's thermal mass to pre-chill or pre-heat within tolerable temperature ranges at times of lower electric rates. Energy storage is required for advanced functionality. It has been said that a Microgrid without energy storage is like a computer without a hard drive – very limited.
Power Electronics Hardware
Power electronics hardware consists primarily of DC-DC converters and Inverters. All electrical energy requires power electronics to regulate its flow. That flow consists of the direction of the flow as well as the voltage and current. For AC (Alternating Current) the frequency must be regulated as well. Power electronics are used to convert one DC (Direct Current) power to another such as when solar panel output is optimized or when batteries are charged or discharged. Power electronics are also used to convert DC power to AC (Alternating Current) and vice versa.
All of Indie Power Systems' power electronics hardware modules have been designed and built in-house to work seamlessly together. These modules have also been designed to be scalable. For example, a 25kW module can operate in parallel with another module to manage 50kW. Four modules in parallel could manage 100kW and that scaling can continue to several hundred kilowatts.
Solar DC-DC Converters
Solar panels, also known as PV (PhotoVoltaic), require power electronics to control and maximize output. Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for PV is a method of adjusting the DC power draw to target the highest output possible. MPPT is designed into the converter's firmware and manages the PV power by sampling different current draws until power output deceases. Pulling too many amps will drop the PV output voltage to a point where power output is less. Continuous sampling is required because of changing potential soar output. For example, PV will generally have a lower power early morning than at noon. Clouds also change the maximum power potential. Indie Power Systems' modular PV converters can optimize the output of any number or panels or arrays of panels.
Energy storage can take many forms, including pumped hydro, flywheels, and batteries. If it can be controlled, Indie Power Systems’ energy storage system can manage it. Because the most prevalent method of energy storage today is in batteries, Indie Power Systems focuses on optimizing battery energy storage. The Multi-Flex™ can be configured with: 1) battery energy storage within the cabinet, 2) external battery storage, or 3) a combination of internal and external battery storage.
Indie Power Systems' energy storage is battery agnostic and can integrate any battery chemistry, or any combinations of chemistries. Indie Power Systems leads the industry in battery energy storage with its Redundant Array of Inexpensive Batteries (RAIB™) technology. This technology allow the blending of multiple battery chemistries, new and/or used, into what is now referred to as a Hybrid Energy Storage System (HESS). Indie Power Systems also designs and build custom Battery Management Systems (BMS).
Battery Management Systems (BMS)
Indie Power Systems has developed custom BMS for different chemistries. that include voltage, current, and temperature monitoring. Indie Power Systems holds multiple patents on battery Management including active cell or module balancing.