This Hawaii housing development to share solar energy via peer-to-peer exchange network

ensync peer to peer energy sharing

EnSync Energy Systems signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Koa’e Workforce Housing, L.P. to include EnSync Smart Home Energy Systems in a new 134-unit housing development. The systems will utilize peer-to-peer energy exchange and smart water heaters to optimize energy efficiency and utilization of solar across the community.

The Koa’e community is the first announced deployment of EnSync’s cool load control capability and the second for its True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange.

The Koa’e housing development will include 516 kW of rooftop solar, 603 kilowatt-hours of energy storage and EnSync Smart Home’s energy communications, command and control platform across the property’s 23 buildings. Each residential unit will have photovoltaics (PV), an EnSync Smart Home system and connection to a DC-Link that networks the home with all of the other residences in the property. The system will integrate energy supply from the PV power generation and energy storage with water heater load management to maximize energy independence of each home and throughout the overall networked community.

This is EnSync Energy’s second multi-family residential property to use the EnSync Smart Home system as its technology foundation, following a 320-unit project announced in the summer of 2018. For additional efficiency, the EnSync Smart Home and DC-Link systems connecting each unit enable peer-to-peer energy exchange. When the unit-level PV system generates more solar energy than the storage or home can utilize, the excess is exported to any unit on the property where demand exceeds supply.

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This peer-to-peer energy exchange capability helps manage the impact of vacancy rates, time of day absences and unit level micro-loading effects in multi-unit properties or communities, facilitating energy efficiency across the network as a whole. For building owners who pay utilities on behalf of tenants and charge tenants a flat rate, the EnSync Smart Home system offers a direct incentive to realize potential savings.

The new Koa’e housing development will be located on the island of Kauai and is EnSync Energy’s first project on the island. Kauai, like the rest of the state of Hawaii, is working through a severe housing shortage, and the Koa’e housing project is an element of the response aimed at addressing that challenge. EnSync Energy is collaborating with its local subsidiary and developer Holu Energy to engineer and design the project and Mark Development, Inc. to construct and install the system.

“The Koa’e project demonstrates how advanced technology can be used to improve the economics for tenants of affordable housing,” said Craig Watase, president of Mark Development, Inc. “We are pleased to include the EnSync Smart Home in our project and bring the benefits of solar directly to affordable communities.”

— Solar Builder magazine

EnSync Energy adds demand management function to its solar + storage Smart Home platform

Ensync Smart home

EnSync Energy Systems is taking its innovative line of residential and commercial solar plus storage systems and asset control platforms one step further with the addition of demand management capability.

This new EnSync Smart Home system integrates the management of on-site solar plus storage with the management of demand from residential appliances, including electric water heaters, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting sources and electric vehicle charging stations. By enabling this level of coordination between photovoltaics (PV), batteries, the utility grid and home consumption, the system not only optimizes energy for price and reliability, but also increases energy autonomy.

The product will debut with integration of smart water heater load control, then expand to integrate electric vehicle charge control, and finally to other major appliances by the end of next year.

“The EnSync Smart Home system enables both energy independence and cost savings by integrating utility rate information and electricity supply from PV, energy storage and the grid with electricity demand data from major appliances in the home,” said Brad Hansen, CEO of EnSync Energy.

How it works

For example, by integrating water heater load into the system, the system can intelligently manage heating of the water to occur at lower-use times of day, such as before anyone in the home wakes up or during peak PV generation, when the home is producing excess electricity, to have the water ready for the evening. The system can also intelligently discharge the battery to offset load sources in order to minimize grid electricity.

“This ability to intelligently offset home loads with storage enables the consumer to minimize adverse impact from tiered rates, time-of-day rates and demand charges from the utility, while also maintaining the quality of life and comfort the homeowner is accustomed to,” Hansen says.

The EnSync Smart Home is the latest development of the EnSync Home Energy System, which debuted in May 2018. Designed for multi-unit properties and residential communities, the system’s modular structure, DC BUS architecture and IoE communications, command and control platform optimizes the economics of clean energy for both multi-family properties and individual homes. Its lithium-iron-phosphate battery chemistry also ensures greater energy storage safety.

To achieve further grid independence, EnSync Smart Home can also integrate individual residential units into an energy sharing network with the EnSync True Peer-to-Peer DC-Link. By allowing individual residential units to exchange electricity directly with one another, this feature mitigates the inefficiencies created by vacancy rates, time-of-day absence and micro-loading effects in multi-unit properties or communities, increasing utilization of the solar generation across the network as a whole.

Being able to manage the energy supply and load in the home in an integrated and intelligent fashion will be key criteria for achieving market leadership in the residential energy storage market, which EnSync Energy estimates will be worth more than $9 billionover the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 60 percent.

— Solar Builder magazine

EnSync Energy DER systems tie together solar, wind in microgrid at Ohio trucking terminal

Ensync trucking microgrid

EnSync Energy Systems has a lot of interesting concepts for residential and commercial distributed energy resource (DER) systems and Internet of Energy (IOE) control platforms. Its latest deployment is coming via a partnership with WindStax Energy to build a microgrid at a new PITT OHIO trucking terminal in Parma, Ohio.

The microgrid will utilize both solar energy and wind energy generation through a 495-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system and eight six-story-tall vertical wind turbines that add 48 kW to the system. These resources will be integrated with EnSync Energy’s DER SuperModule, which houses 730 kWh of energy storage, the Matrix Energy Management system and DER Flex IOE software platform for system command, communication and control. The system will enable the sustainability-minded trucking company to participate in net metering programs, while also providing backup energy during grid disturbances.

EnSync Energy jumps into residential solar+storage, includes ‘peer-to-peer’ energy exchange

“Our multifaceted microgrid projects benefit from a partner like EnSync Energy, whose all-in-one solution has saved us time and brings consistency to the various components,” said WindStax Energy CEO Ronald Gdovic. “Together, we have designed a system that will deliver cost savings and reliable energy to PITT OHIO’s trucking operations.”

“Our ability to easily integrate and prioritize multiple distributed energy resources is recognized as a distinct advantage in microgrid projects, and our market success in Hawaii is now creating opportunities on the mainland,” said EnSync Energy Executive Vice President Dan Nordloh. “We look forward to helping PITT OHIO and WindStax accomplish their objectives of clean, affordable and resilient energy projects for this and other facilities throughout the Midwest.”

Construction has commenced and is expected to finish in the spring of 2019.

— Solar Builder magazine

EnSync Energy sells PPA for California fire training facility solar install to Standard Solar

Ensync energy systems

EnSync Energy Systems sold a project under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to Standard Solar — a deal that marks EnSync Energy’s entry into the California marketplace.

EnSync Energy is building a 600-kilowatt solar installation at the CAL FIRE training facility in Ione, Calif., under the agreement. The installation will consist of a solar system on the classroom roof and solar canopy built over the parking lot of the new dormitory in the training facility. The canopy will keep parked cars cool and reduce the heat island effect while generating clean energy for the facility, which achieves Governor Brown’s 2012 executive order (B-18-12) mandating green building practices at State buildings.

RELATED: EnSync Energy jumps into residential solar+storage, includes ‘peer-to-peer’ energy exchange

“The CAL FIRE solar PPA marks an important milestone for EnSync Energy as our first large project sale in the state,” said Brad Hansen, the company’s chief executive officer and president. “We are proud to build on our record of deploying holistic DER and financing solutions in this key market, while also supporting an agency that fights wildfires in California.”

“As a company dedicated to removing financing barriers for commercial solar projects, we appreciate the opportunity to provide the financing to help support CAL FIRE’s mission to protect the public safety of Californians,” said Standard Solar president and CEO Scott Wiater. “Costs often remain a barrier to adopting solar, and this PPA offers a win-win solution that facilitates deployment of renewable energy.”

Construction of the installation is expected to be completed in 2018.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar + Sharing: Connect groups of homeowners, renters via one solar + storage network

lithium-ion batteries

The EnSync Home Energy System includes high-efficiency “LFP” lithium-ion batteries, a Matrix Energy Management system with 9-kWac output capacity, modular energy storage capacity of 9-kWh increments, modular DC-DC converters and the DER Flex Internet of Energy control platform.

Brad Hansen, president and CEO of EnSync Energy Systems, believes solar + storage for the home is still “in the dark ages.” EnSync Energy Systems has built a reputation for deploying high-value distributed energy resources (DERs) in the C&I segment. So why is Hansen discussing residential solar + storage? Well, EnSync has just launched a Home Energy System that will not only address some of the antiquated architecture of current home storage systems but also invent an entirely new project design concept.

At the basic level, the EnSync Home Energy System combines solar, energy storage, power electronics and Internet of Energy control into one platform. It has the advantage of leveraging technology and lessons learned from EnSync’s C&I business to achieve an outcome like lessening thermal stability concerns of repackaged lithium-ion batteries that are often used in a home energy storage applications. Instead, EnSync pairs a residential-scale version of its modular Matrix Energy Management system with thermally resilient lithium-ion batteries and its DER Flex Internet of Energy solution that are all designed to work together.

“Most [current systems] are significantly underpowered and cannot support the entire home if the grid electricity is out, or they have issues disconnecting and reconnecting to the grid during an outage,” Hansen says. “If the home is off-grid, many cannot reliably perform if high inrush currents are created by the start-up of appliances like refrigerators or air conditioners.”

Peer-to-peer exchange

This is the part that could change the sector. The EnSync Home Energy System introduces True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange technology. The goal here is to enable individual residential units in a property to be linked into a network behind the utility meter to provide highly efficient, direct energy exchange between units. Suddenly property developers, property managers and homeowners’ associations can provide seamless and economical transfer of excess energy from any given residence to any other residence in the network with excess demand via EnSync’s DC-Link.

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“The future of the electricity market will be individual homes and building owners operating in a ‘spot market’ for the buying and selling of electricity across a network,” Hansen says. “At EnSync, our mission for the company is simple: the democratization of energy through innovative and economic energy systems. Homeowners and property owners that install our products today do so with the confidence that as the market for energy continues to be radically changed, they are not only prepared for it, but can capitalize on it and profit from it.”

A single residence, multifamily building or entire neighborhood could reduce consumption on the grid and possibly open up a new revenue stream. The sharing of electricity between interconnected residences on a True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange network prioritizes the use of solar generated or stored electricity ahead of that from the utility grid for any residence in the network. The network can also be configured as “non-export,” meaning no excess generation for any unit goes back to the utility grid. This capability is becoming more critical as several states and jurisdictions prohibit or economically penalize energy export.

Additionally, many utilities are in the early stages of implementing time-of-day electricity rates and are already levying punitive demand charges on customers. The evolving rate structures and impact of resident vacancy rates, vacation schedules and time-of-day load profiles frequently make deploying solar generation uneconomical for large portions of property development. Virtual net-metering and virtual peer-to-peer programs are fraught with excessive complexity and administrative overhead.

EnSync will initially target the multi-residential property market for its solution, and then broaden its market presence. At the time of launch, the company had already built a sizable order backlog for the EnSync Home Energy System. The Michaels Development Co. was the first to sign a 20-year PPA to build a solar and energy storage system at the Keahumoa Place affordable housing development, a greenfield project in Hawaii that is expected to complete construction in 2019. Savings from the PPA will finance the construction of a 750-kW PV panel-covered canopy that will simultaneously produce energy and shade the development’s parking lot, as well as a 500-kW hour energy storage system, with individual modules interconnected by the proprietary True Peer-to-Peer DC-Link behind each unit’s utility meter.

“True Peer-to-Peer revolutionizes the economics of solar + storage in residential properties like Keahumoa, by dramatically reducing the negative impacts of vacancy rates, absence during peak generation times, vacation schedules and micro-loading effects within each unit from appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners,” Hansen says.

— Solar Builder magazine