Simpliphi, Helia team for scalable smart microgrid tech

September 20, 2019 // By Nick Flaherty
Simplihi batteries are combined with control systems from Helia to create a smart microgrid that acts as virtual power plants
Simplihi Power batteries are combined with control systems from startup Helia Technologies to create a smart microgrid that acts as virtual power plants

Energy storage system maker SimpliPhi Power has teamed up with MIT-spin out Heila Technologies on a distributed, scalable smart microgrid that combines power from homes into a virtual power plant.

Up to 12 of SimpliPhi's PHI 3.8 kWh batteries, an inverter, a solar array, controllable loads, and other balance of system components are connected to a single Heila controller, which acts as a Battery Management System (BMS) and an Energy Management System (EMS) in a microgrid. All the Heila devices in a system are then aggregated and optimized to form a distributed intelligent network that can be used by any central controller, ADMS or SCADA to control the fleet as a single entity using common protocols.

The PHI batteries measure and report voltage, current and temperatures, and perform useful calculations to determine real-time battery state of charge (SoC), state of health (SoH) and fault detection. Hei la is programmed to operate the PHI battery units in either grid-connected or off-grid mode, and manage transitions between modes, enabling full control of the flow of real and reactive power to and from the grid, load curtailment, and more. 

“Too often distributed assets are viewed as a threat to centralized energy infrastructure. In fact, distributed assets can and should be regarded as providing a grid advantage capable of strengthening our existing infrastructure,” said Catherine Von Burg, CEO of California-ased SimpliPhi. “Distributed energy storage and microgrids are essential in building the grid of the future. The key is to deliver solutions that make it possible for utilities to more easily deploy, seamlessly aggregate and successfully control distributed storage and other assets as part of their established grid operations. The Heila platform does what no other can in terms of making distributed assets easy for a utility to manage.”

“Heila’s vision is to enable the grid of tomorrow by dramatically simplifying the construction, operation and optimization of fleets of DERs," said Jorge Elizondo, Heila’s Senior Engineer.

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