GridSense, an Acorn Energy Company, Partners with California Utility to Measure Photovoltaics’ Effect on the Power Grid

GridSense, an Acorn Energy (NASDAQ: ACFN) company that develops and markets advanced monitoring solutions for the electric power industry, has announced that a California utility will use its LineIQ™ solution to measure the impact of photovoltaic (PV) generated power as it enters the utility grid.

Many states are mandating increases in the percentage of power generated from renewables. California has implemented a law requiring utilities to procure 33% of their electricity from eligible renewable energy sources by 2020, of which solar will comprise a significant part.

As more and more solar comes online, however, utilities are grappling with its disruptive effects on the grid. Non-renewable power sources are relatively constant. They are very predictable and rarely impacted by time of day, season, or hour-to-hour changes in weather conditions. That is not the case with PVs. PV capacity is different in summer than it is in winter. In volatile weather, it can change significantly on an hour-by-hour, or even minute-by-minute basis.

‘Loading is a particular concern as PVs enter the grid,’ says Brandy Henson, GridSense Sales Manager. ‘Grappling with significant power fluctuations challenges traditional utility models. It demands a more fluid and flexible smart grid control mechanism. To accomplish that, you need extensive, reliable monitoring.’

The California utility is using LineIQ™ monitoring system on distribution lines surrounding PVs to gauge their impact as they feed the grid. Monitoring will focus on fluctuations at different times of day, and due to sun and weather conditions. For this application, LineIQ™ has been programmed to sample every two seconds to ensure a truly high-resolution view of line conditions over time. With its ability to monitor lines up to 138kV, self-powered design, and accommodation of any communications protocol, the unit is uniquely qualified for this type of high-intensity monitoring. Considering the worldwide emphasis on integrating PV and other renewables into the grid, GridSense anticipates an increase in the demand for renewable energy source monitoring.

‘We’re thrilled that utilities are continuing to recognize the value and versatility of the LineIQ™ monitoring solution,’ says Henson. ‘The ability to monitor higher voltage lines, the depth of intelligent data it collects, and its aptitude for extremely high-intensity sampling make it a perfect tool to help utilities seamlessly integrate more renewables into their network.’

GridSense is a smart grid technology company dedicated to providing innovative, practical and cost effective monitoring solutions to the electric power industry. Utilizing in-depth industry knowledge and understanding of utility requirements, we provide technology and services that help the industry address the limitations of old and aging infrastructure. We apply experience and technical know-how with new insight and ideas to create intelligent, reliable and leading edge technologies that add value to our customers and shape the future of the modern electrical power system.

Acorn Energy, Inc. is a holding company focused on making energy better by providing digital solutions for energy infrastructure asset management. The four businesses in which we have controlling interests, improve the world’s energy infrastructure by making it: more secure – providing security solutions for underwater energy infrastructure (DSIT); more reliable – providing condition-based monitoring to critical assets on the electric grid (GridSense, OmniMetrix) and more productive and efficient – increasing oil and gas production while lowering costs through use of permanent ultra-high sensitive seismic tools that allow for a more precise picture of reservoirs (US Seismic).