In a new special report series brought to you by Microgrid Knowledge and Siemens, we’re providing a guide to help microgrid developers avoid the pain points that can wreck the financial and operational assumptions for a project. This fourth article in the series outlines Step 3: Making the Right Microgrid Procurement Decisions.
A developer must bring together providers for controls, electricity, generation and much more. As microgrid technologies advance and options proliferate, it can be difficult to keep pace with the latest options and make the right procurement decisions.
The pitfalls of making the wrong decisions regarding major equipment from vendors, such as distributed energy resources (DERs) or the microgrid system control, include development challenges that remain hidden until they are at their most difficult to solve.
For example, choices that lead to negotiating contracts with multiple vendors often result in costly time delays. Or a battery system provider might want to sell controls for its system, unaware that other DERs in the system and customer needs require a different type of microgrid control.
By ensuring that equipment from various vendors integrates seamlessly and making a careful decision around the most critical piece of equipment – the microgrid system control – procurement decisions become a perfect patchwork quilt rather than a minefield.
Watch the Microgrid Knowledge webinar “Preventing Scope Gaps for Microgrid Developers: Steps to Develop Microgrids Easier, Faster, and Cheaper.”
The local utility will have interconnection rules and fees and may require grid connection upgrades. It could impose other requirements, even capping the size of the system permitted. A generation provider unfamiliar with those limits might be happy to provide more generation than the microgrid is allowed to install.
However, by ensuring that equipment from various vendors integrates seamlessly and making a careful decision around the most critical piece of equipment — the microgrid system control — procurement decisions become a perfect patchwork quilt rather than a minefield.
There is no Apple for microgrids (yet)
Many vendors offer solutions that are not truly technology agnostic. This can limit a developer’s ability to ensure the microgrid is built to evolve with new technologies and changing customer needs. In the world of personal computing, a company such as Apple can provide solutions for all of a customer’s needs. But in the case of microgrids, hardware and software innovations are emerging rapidly from new and established vendors. There is no Apple that can seamlessly do it all. The most seamless option is the use of hardware and systems that can interconnect and function together regardless of the component manufacturer.
System control is mission critical
The microgrid system control is perhaps the most important procurement decision to ensure the microgrid can deliver customer expectations — when it comes online and in the future. Developers need to be aware of how controls for various systems compare. There are hardware, software and cloud-based software control options available, and controls expertise is needed to best choose the one that will serve project needs better than others.
To learn more about eight key system control considerations for microgrid developers, download the full report. And check out the previous articles in the series below:
Download the full report “5 Steps to Develop Microgrids Easier, Faster and at Less Cost: The Definitive Guide for Microgrid Developers,” courtesy of Siemens to learn more.