The Solar Decathlon (www.solardecathlon.gov/) challenges 20 teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
"The integration of distributed and renewable electricity generation sources is becoming more prevalent and a challenge for the grid," said NREL’s Byron Stafford, Solar Decathlon Site Operations Manager. "The Solar Decathlon is a concentrated microcosm of what occurs in the real world as distributed and renewable generation sources cause increases in line voltage. As we experienced during Solar Decathlon 2009, line voltage rise causes inverters to trip, stopping electricity from being passed back into the grid from the renewable sources. We are pleased to find the MicroPlanet technology with the capabilities and features to efficiently, precisely, and bi-directionally regulate voltage," Stafford continued.
"I am extremely proud of the MicroPlanet engineering team and the significant advancements they have achieved in Smart Voltage Regulation (SVR). They have worked very hard the past years and our selection as the provider of voltage regulation services for the Solar Decathlon punctuates the leading edge abilities of MicroPlanet’s patented technologies," said Brett Ironside, MicroPlanet President and CEO. "Our four quadrant design – that is, the ability to both increase and decrease voltage precisely to multiple set points as well as to regulate bi-directionally to and from the grid – is what distinguishes MicroPlanet from all other voltage regulation technologies. No other voltage regulation technology can regulate with the speed, precision, and accuracy of our patented products and enable efficient integration of renewable generation sources."
DOE and NREL are two of the most recognized and authoritative renewable energy and energy efficiency authorities in the world. "We are extremely pleased to be working with these organizations," Ironside continued. "Their selection of MicroPlanet is a major step forward in creating global awareness of the abilities and benefits of MicroPlanet’s game changing technologies."
MicroPlanet believes that smart voltage regulation (SVR) should be a key initial component in the integration of distributed generation technologies. First, the economic benefits of SVR itself in most cases exceed those of renewable generation. Second, they significantly and dramatically improve the power quality and stability. Third, they enhance renewable generation by managing the flow of electricity back to the grid preventing significant feeder line problems for the utility, and also maximizing generation revenue by optimizing voltage levels and ensuring generation uptime.
"We are also pleased to be providing SVR service to the Solar Decathlon as opposed to selling the equipment outright. This demonstrates a completely different potential business model for MicroPlanet and potential partners commonly referred to as Energy Savings Performance Contracting," Ironside continued. "This engagement shows that we can provide a valuable service to end users – and is an example of another potential service which can be provided by large Energy Services Companies ("ESCO’s").
"Our Chief Technical Officer Greg Wiegand, several of our board of directors, and I will be in Washington, D.C., touring the student-built houses. We invite the different global utilities, solar stakeholders, end users, potential partners, and global distributors to contact us and arrange to see our technology in action."
MicroPlanet solutions improve power quality and save energy by dynamically managing incoming voltage to a home or business through the use of patented, advanced power electronics. MicroPlanet’s technology has been deployed in seven countries by more than 20 utilities, the U.S. military, and multiple commercial customers to save energy, improve power quality and grid efficiency, and to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources, including solar power and wind energy. MicroPlanet is based in Seattle, WA and is listed on the TSXV trading under the stock symbol: MP.