Viridity Energy and the University of California San Diego Awarded $1.6 Million to Optimize Solar Deployment on UCSD Campus Microgrid

California Solar Initiative (CSI) grant from the California Public Utilities Commission will fund integration of up to 1,000 MW of PV with distributed energy resource management

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.--()--Viridity Energy, a premier smart grid company, today announced that it has received a $1,660,000 grant for a distributed energy optimization project at the University of California, San Diego. Administered by the California Public Utilities Commission, the grant allows Viridity Energy to perform work that will significantly improve the economics of solar deployment in California and demonstrate that the barriers to deployment of solar resources can be overcome through optimization scheduling and appropriate tariff incentives. Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3), a San Francisco based energy consulting firm and leader in cost-benefit analysis and rate design for distributed energy resources, will evaluate the cost-effectiveness and alternative management strategies and tariff designs as a sub-contractor to Viridity Energy. San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will also provide active support to ensure that the project provides meaningful results for utility and grid operators.

By employing autonomous, real-time dispatch of distributed energy resources to integrate large volumes of PV into the UC San Diego microgrid, this project will aim to overcome significant technology and regulatory barriers to enable wide-scale deployment of distributed solar generation to meet the California Solar Initiative (CSI) goal of 3,000 MW of installed PV. The Viridity Energy led team will develop innovative utility tariffs and incentives and demonstrate PV integration with distributed energy resources management strategies in a live, real-time environment via the company’s flagship VPower™ platform solution. The platform will provide a “Virtual Generator” dispatchable by SDG&E, the local utility, and into the regional transmission operator system run by the CAISO.

“The project addresses two key challenges by overcoming a myriad of communication and technical barriers while designing rates that fairly balance costs and benefits, promote PV adoption and find customer acceptance,” said Audrey Zibelman, President and CEO of Viridity Energy. “The successful completion of this project was through the collaboration with UCSD and E3, which will provide a powerful case study for how distributed energy resources can be better utilized at other university campuses, large commercial and industrial sites and community energy systems. Collectively, the results of this CSI project will serve as a representative test bed for strategies replicable at sites representing over 15,000 MW of load in California alone.”

“Campuses such as UC San Diego are proving to be breeding grounds for practical energy innovations that can be scaled up and replicated. This project in particular will provide a new level of intelligence for campus energy management,” said Byron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives for UC San Diego. “With UC San Diego’s growing renewable energy portfolio, Viridity Energy’s optimization solutions will allow us to develop a set of previously undocumented best practices, which will result in rates and incentives that will trigger new customer adoption behaviors while ensuring grid reliability, energy reductions, and new revenues. As both an energy consumer and an educator, this project will allow us to blend those two roles and develop new approaches that will optimize our own energy assets and create a pathway for more widespread adoption.”

“This project will advance our collective knowledge of the best practices in integrating distributed generation, responsive load, smart electric vehicle charging and other distributed energy resources at UC San Diego, into California’s grid,” said Eric Cutter, Senior Consultant at Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3). “E3 recently developed an improved distributed generation cost-effectiveness framework for the California Public Utilities Commission, producing high profile reports on Net Energy Metering and the California Solar Initiative. We look forward to building upon this recent work, and our extensive regulatory and ratemaking experience to ensure that the lessons learned in this demonstration can be directly applied to other locations and programs throughout California and beyond.”

The State of California awarded the Viridity Energy project, titled “Innovative Business Models, Rates and Incentives that Promote Integration of High Penetration PV with Real-Time Management of Customer Sited Distributed Energy Resources”, funding through the CSI Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration (RD&D) program, which focuses on improved photovoltaic (PV) production technologies and innovative business practices.

The UC San Diego microgrid is one of the most advanced in the world, serving a daily population of 45,000. Its microgrid has an instantaneous peak demand of 42 MW and self generates 82 percent of its annual load on campus. Campus energy innovations have already been highly successful and influential at UC San Diego since 2003. Viridity Energy deployed its VPower™ platform in a previous project, in concert with EDSA’s Paladin SmartGrid, to provide power system optimization and energy market optimization capabilities. Viridity Energy is also working with Drexel University in Philadelphia and Con Edison in New York City to optimize the energy use of campus and high-rise building facilities in those areas by deploying and interfacing the company’s VPower™ platform solution directly with the building management systems that are already installed at those locations.

About Viridity Energy

Viridity Energy is making the next generation of the smart grid a reality by providing large energy consumers with powerful tools to increase energy efficiency and decrease energy costs. The company’s unique and flexible VPower™ platform solution enables customers to dynamically shift and balance energy load, integrate advanced energy technologies and convert existing energy investments into lucrative new revenue streams. Viridity Energy helps organizations achieve sustainability goals and contribute to the greater good by stabilizing energy price fluctuations. Headquartered in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, Viridity Energy was founded in 2008 by former executives of PJM Interconnection. For more information, visit www.viridityenergy.com.

About the University of California, San Diego

Founded in 1960, the University of California, San Diego is one of the nation’s most accomplished research universities, widely acknowledged for its local impact, national influence and global reach. The campus is ideally located near the Pacific Ocean, the U.S.-Mexico border and the Pacific Rim. UC San Diego is renowned for its collaborative, diverse and cross-disciplinary ethos that transcends traditional boundaries in science, arts and the humanities. The university’s award-winning scholars are experts at the forefront of their fields with an impressive track record for achieving scientific, medical and technological breakthroughs. A leader in climate science research, UC San Diego is one of the greenest universities in the nation and promotes sustainability solutions throughout the region and the world. For more information, visit www.ucsd.edu.

About Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3)

With offices in the U.S. and Canada, E3 specializes in North American electricity markets. Founded in 1989, the firm advises utilities, regulators, government agencies, power producers, energy technology companies, and investors on a wide range of critical issues in the electricity and natural gas industries. This broad range of clients across all sectors of the industry is unique among consulting firms of E3’s size and speaks to the fact that E3 has earned the respect and trust of clients and stakeholders for the objectivity of the firm’s work and its grounding in the realities of the electricity marketplace. For more information, visit www.ethree.com.

Contacts

For Viridity Energy
Aaron Lindenbaum, 617-391-9622
alindenbaum@rasky.com

Contacts

For Viridity Energy
Aaron Lindenbaum, 617-391-9622
alindenbaum@rasky.com