Building-Level Microgrid Pays for Itself Through Utility Incentives

Sept. 10, 2015
GoElectric’s building-level microgrid pays for itself in many instances, thanks to utility incentives for demand response programs. CEO Lisa Laughner explains how it works in this podcast.

GoElectric’s building-level microgrid pays for itself in many instances, thanks to utility incentives for demand response programs.

It’s a microgrid at the building level that can connect any other energy resources on a customer’s site–solar, geothermal, generators or other resources, says CEO Lisa Laughner in this podcast. (Click below to listen.) “We can optimize the resources and provide the lowest cost of energy to the owner.”

And, just as important, the microgrid can do demand response if the utility has a program in place, and the building owner can earn income on the microgrid assets.

The company won a contract for three small systems for the RISE NYC program, which aims to help small businesses be more resilient to power outages. The systems will be installed in early 2016.

Consolidated Edison will pay for up to 50 percent of the cost of installing equipment that provides demand response, Laughner says.

“We’re the first to have an uninterruptible power system that isn’t a capital expense,” says Laughner. “It pays for itself at demand response programs at utilities.”

The company has one 500-kW system installed at Camp Smith, a military base in Hawaii. It includes a microgrid, battery storage and the company’s microgrid controller. The microgrid is attached to four large generators, and together the base can be taken off grid.

While the few installations that are up and running use natural gas as fuel, the company also has experience using solar energy with the microgrid, says Laughner.

“We have a mobile system that my engineers are working on that connects a generator, battery, solar and the grid or you can connect these resources to another power source,” she says.

Laughner recently was invited to the White House to share her company’s technology and startup story.

“President Obama wants to showcase women and minority CEOs. That was a surreal experience,” she says.

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About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

Twitter: @LisaECohn

Linkedin: LisaEllenCohn

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