Energy Toolbase integrates Stem’s AI storage platform into its solar + storage design software

software integration

Energy Toolbase sent word that its solar + storage design software now includes the services of Stem, Inc., the world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven energy storage. With this integration, distributed energy providers can simulate project performance, analyze financial returns and develop sales proposals informed by Stem’s Athena AI platform and rich operating experience. This integration will facilitate increased energy storage deployments by streamlining the project development process.

The U.S. energy storage market is forecasted to grow rapidly over the coming years. According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables’ U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, total energy storage deployments will grow from 311 megawatts (MWs) in 2018 to 4,447 MW in 2024, more than doubling each year.

The Energy Toolbase software platform specializes in the sales and analysis of solar and energy storage projects. Over 1,000 distributed energy companies nationwide use the application during the sales and development stage of their projects. Precisely calculating the savings and economics of behind-the-meter storage projects is highly technical. Energy Toolbase simplifies the complexity of modeling a customer’s unique energy use profile, utility rate schedule, net energy metering rules and incentive programs.

Energy Toolbase and Stem will co-host training opportunities to overview the functionality of their new integration. Register here to attend.

Get to know Stem

Stem’s AI platform, Athena, performs real-time energy optimization that reduces energy costs and enables customers to access additional market opportunities via Stem’s network. Stem has approximately 1,000 energy storage systems under contract across six U.S. states, Ontario, and Japan.

“Solar project developers that are seeking to add storage need real-world performance simulation and market economic expertise, backed by long experience across a range of markets, to accurately estimate their customers’ potential returns,” said Alan Russo, Stem’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Stem works to unlock new value from solar + storage by enhancing project economics, future-proofing against changing rates, and expanding sales opportunities. Moreover, these assets have the opportunity to participate in wholesale markets and utility programs, all orchestrated by our AI-driven software.”

Since 2012, Stem has captured data from its systems on a one-second basis to feed Stem’s predictive analytics, machine-learning, and grid-edge computing AI. Stem partners with the strongest names among solar providers across the U.S. to unlock new value from solar projects for their customers, backed by performance guarantees.


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— Solar Builder magazine

Details on Massachusetts’ largest community solar + storage farm (just completed)

Massachusetts solar storage

Massachusetts’ largest community solar + storage farm has completed construction and is nearing subscriber completion. The 7.1-MW Happy Hollow Community Solar + Storage Farm is built on a gravel pit in Winchendon, Mass., and includes a 3.3-MW energy storage system. The project is owned by SunRaise Investments, developed and constructed by Borrego Solar with CleanChoice Energy managing subscriber services including acquisition, management, customer care, billing, and retention.

“We’re proud to be part of this innovative community solar plus storage farm. This project provides people the opportunity to support clean energy innovation, while reducing their climate impact and saving money on their energy bills,” said Tom Matzzie, CEO of CleanChoice Energy. “Massachusetts continues to be a clean energy leader and this solar farm is a prime example of that leadership delivering benefits to the community.”

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Community solar offers landowners the opportunity to receive additional revenue by leasing their land for solar, while opening the benefits of solar to the hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents that either do not own their own home or do not have a roof that works for solar. The subscribers for this Community Solar Farm can see up to a 10% savings on their utility bills with no upfront investment, setup fees or installation.

Borrego Solar developed, engineered and constructed the project, while SunRaise secured the construction and permanent financing and will remain the long-term owner and operator of the facility. The project is expected to generate 9,000,000 kWh of electricity each year, which is enough energy to power 1,200 average Massachusetts homes for a year.

— Solar Builder magazine

Michigan’s first commercial-scale solar + storage system up and running via Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy

Michigan’s first ever rooftop solar array and battery storage system debuted last week in the growing area of Grand Rapids. Nearly 1,800 solar panels atop the Bridge Street Market and adjoining buildings between Bridge and First Streets within the Circuit West district are accompanied nearby by a 500-kilowatt battery.

“Today, there is very little storage on the grid, so electricity is generated just moments before you use it,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of operations. “With large batteries, we will make our grid more efficient, effective and sustainable. It’s a critical part of Michigan’s energy future and it’s happening here at Circuit West.”

Circuit West is a 13-block district of innovative electricity generation, distribution and storage and energy efficient building construction. Circuit West is led by Consumers Energy and Rockford Construction.

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“With this first-of-its-kind solar, battery storage system, West Michigan is leading the way to our clean energy future,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “Projects like Circuit West will ensure more families and businesses have greener and more reliable energy.”

Stabenow was joined by leaders from Consumers Energy, Rockford Construction and the City of Grand Rapids to announce the electric distribution and storage system today at the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, 614 First Street NW, one of the many new buildings springing up within Circuit West.

“This rooftop solar array can power up to 100 homes and is part of Consumers Energy’s commitment to increasing our use of renewable energy to 40 percent and ending our use of coal to generate electricity,” Rochow said. “Our Circuit West work is putting into action our triple bottom line of People, the Planet and Prosperity.”

The Circuit West battery, which goes into commercial operation in a few weeks, joins a 1-megawatt battery installed last fall at the company’s Parkview Substation on Western Michigan University’s Kalamazoo campus. Rochow said Consumers Energy is studying each battery’s performance to determine how to best use and integrate the technology across the electric distribution grid.

Consumers Energy earlier announced it will construct a new Grand Rapids office building within Circuit West. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

— Solar Builder magazine

SMA America’s residential storage inverter is now shipping

SMA America‘s AC-coupled solution for residential energy storage and management, the Sunny Boy Storage-US inverter, is now shipping.

SMA sunny boy storage inverter

“The Sunny Boy Storage-US offers intelligent residential energy storage and is equipped with outstanding features and functions to reduce future electricity bills,” said Nick Morbach, executive vice president for SMA’s Residential and Commercial business unit. “Combined with our other residential offerings, including the Power+ Solution, and equipped SMA Smart Connected, this solution will be a significant component for holistic home energy management with SMA.”

Using an AC coupled architecture, the Sunny Boy Storage 3.8-US/5.0-US/6.0-US offers a simple, flexible platform for new and existing PV systems that is compatible with high-voltage battery manufacturers, such as BYD and other leading brands.

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Up to three high-voltage batteries can be connected to a single Sunny Boy Storage-US, which gives maximum flexibility by using different storage capacities, even from different battery brands, in parallel. The concept is future-proof, allowing installers to add more battery capacity at any time. Energy management features make it possible for the inverter to mitigate demand charges as well as time-of-use pricing, offering homeowners maximum savings. The SMA Automatic Backup Unit, which allows use of backup power and is rated for 200 Amp service, is now available in conjunction with the Sunny Boy Storage-US.

Another key feature of the solution is Secure Power Supply, which enables up to 2,000 W of convenience power during the day or night in the event of a grid outage. Installers who are interested in purchasing a Sunny Boy Storage-US may contact an SMA Authorized Distributor.

— Solar Builder magazine

Assess solar + storage’s value in terms of facility resilience

solar power resilience

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) updated its publicly available online solar+storage optimization tool, REopt Lite, which can be used to determine the sizing of resilient power technologies designed to support critical services. Recent disasters in places such as Puerto Rico, where widespread outages contributed to devastating loss of life, underscore how important it is to give building owners and emergency planners straightforward tools to evaluate how to make buildings more resilient with solar and battery storage.

“The updated version of REopt Lite marks a big step in the evolution of solar+storage analysis,” said Clean Energy Group Vice President Seth Mullendore. “It will help many of the organizations we work with every day – affordable housing developers, critical facilities managers, municipalities, and community groups – better understand the potential economic and resilience benefits that solar+storage could bring to their buildings, without having to rely solely on industry representatives and expensive consultants.”

Valuing resiliency

The majority of customer-sited solar+storage installations are designed to meet one of two goals: either to reduce electricity expenses or to increase energy resilience. Cost savings are a key concern for building owners and managers, which is why the economic benefits of solar+storage have made these projects increasingly popular for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other entities facing significant demand-related charges on their electric bills.

In addition to reducing demand charges and time-of-use energy rates, solar+storage systems also deliver value by providing power to buildings when the grid goes down, whether by allowing a business to stay open or residents to shelter in place; or, in the case of facilities like medical clinics and emergency shelters, potentially preventing loss of life. The economic and social costs incurred due to increasingly more frequent and longer-duration power outages can be avoided with properly designed resilient solar+storage systems.

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With REopt Lite’s newly expanded functionality, users of the tool will be able to compare and contrast economic and resilience goals in a publicly available, easy-to to-use interface. By giving users the ability to assign and adjust a value for resilience benefits and view a side-by-side comparison between resilient system sizing and costs and a system designed to maximize savings, the new version of REopt Lite will help decision-makers identify potential cost gaps and balance what may at times be competing priorities.

“While we have historically measured the benefits of solar+storage in terms of cost and energy savings, resilience is emerging as another critical value,” said Kate Anderson, senior engineer and manager of the Engineering and Modeling Group at NREL. “REopt Lite’s new expanded resilience capability allows users to compare systems designed for maximum economic benefit to systems designed to sustain critical loads during grid outages, and assess the cost-benefit tradeoffs of different options. It also allows users to consider how varying microgrid upgrade costs and avoided outage costs may impact the economics of their system. We hope this will be a useful tool for decision-makers who are considering resilient solar+storage systems.”

Clean Energy Group is also offering free REopt Lite training sessions and analysis support to nonprofit organizations interested in using the tool to evaluate solar+storage projects that would benefit disadvantaged communities. These enhanced resilient design capabilities were developed in collaboration with Clean Energy Group through its Resilient Power Project and supported with funding from The Kresge Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program and Solar Energy Technologies Office.

— Solar Builder magazine