Alignment to Customers is the Goal to Scaling Microgrids: Spirae CEO Sunil Cherian at MGK 2024

May 30, 2024
Cherian pointed out that all of the activities engaged in scaling up the microgrid solution may be intertwined with one united goal—merging sustainability with resiliency--but must meet the specific desires of a variety of end-use sectors, such as mining, hydroponics and data centers.

Simplifying complexity is a key goal in serving customers of any product. They don’t need to know everything that makes it work; they just want it to work immediately and specifically for what they need.

Spirae CEO and founder Sunil Cherian highlighted why developing alignments to simplify the complex is so crucial during a conversation with Microgrid Knowledge Managing Editor Rod Walton at the company’s booth this April at the Microgrid Conference in Baltimore.

“That is the challenge in the industry,” he said.

Cherian pointed out that all of the activities engaged in scaling up the microgrid solution may be intertwined with one united goal—merging sustainability with resiliency--but must meet the specific desires of a variety of end-use sectors, such as mining, hydroponics, data centers, industrial manufacturing and commercial office space. Spirae provides a digital platform for microgrid optimization.

“There is a whole spectrum of projects,” Cherian said at MGK 2024. “We get to see that entire spectrum, and make sure the digital infrastructure we supply allows our customers…to go from concept to operation. What tool set do you use to achieve that?”

Standardization alone is not always the silver bullet to overcome complex barriers to microgrid projects, he added. Alignment is key.

Scaling up microgrids involves tackling a variety of challenges to make it simpler and site-specific for the customer.

“What is actually required to do is you really need the control systems and the individual microgrid infrastructure tied in with the development test validation environment, tied in with the business processes and business models that providers are using to get them there,” Cherian said.

“You need a complete digital infrastructure where you can activate microgrids almost as if you’re activating a mobile phone service for somebody,” he added. “That is where the transformation needs to occur.”

Spirae was a platinum sponsor and session presenter at MGK 2024 in Baltimore. Microgrid Knowledge Conference 2025 will be next April 15-17 at the Sheraton Dallas in Texas.

Watch the entire video with Cherian here. 

About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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