Hawaiian Electric to deploy Varentec’s grid edge voltage regulation technology for increased rooftop solar grid capacity

December 19th, 2017

Dec. 19 2017 — Varentec, Inc., a leader smart grid technology, is working with Hawaiian Electric and Elemental Excelerator to deploy 100 Edge of Network Grid Optimization (ENGO®) devices and its Grid Edge Management System (GEMS®) platform at three O‘ahu substations with high penetrations of solar PV. The project, co-funded by Elemental Excelerator, a Hawaii-based growth accelerator, aims to minimize voltage fluctuations and allow for additional rooftop solar capacity.

This deployment is an expansion of Varentec’s successful pilot project with Hawaiian Electric that started in August 2016 and includes the use of ENGO devices in a neighborhood in Kailua, O‘ahu.

Varentec’s ENGO devices sense and regulate the distribution voltage, while the GEMS platform offers fleet management and data analytics. The combined solution will help Hawaiian Electric minimize voltage fluctuations along the distribution grid and allow for additional rooftop solar capacity, while maintaining power quality. This new project will help validate the additional PV hosting capacity in three different neighborhoods on O‘ahu: Kahuku, Waimanalo, and Mānoa, and will be the first of its kind in the world to minimize voltage fluctuations at the edge of the grid as more PV hosting is added to the distribution circuits.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies service 95 percent of Hawaii’s customers and, by the end of 2016, had sourced 26 percent of its power from renewable sources.

“Our first pilot project with Varentec let us test cutting-edge technology to open up capacity for rooftop solar on two PV-saturated circuits and also minimize the need for costly upgrades,” said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric Companies senior vice president of planning and technology. “We’re excited to expand our pilot into other service areas and learn more about these new technologies as we modernize our electric grid and work toward meeting our state’s clean energy goals.”

Hawaiian Electric and Varentec believe the unique capabilities of Varentec’s system-level, dynamic-control technology can address voltage issues at a lower cost to customers than other alternatives considered.

“We are very proud that our technology is helping Hawaiian Electric in its 100% RPS objectives by 2045. Varentec’s solution helps the increase of residential PV rooftop into the grid while maintaining a high standard in power quality to Hawaiian Electric customers and meeting Hawaiʻi PUC mandates. We are very fortunate to be working with such a leader in the integration of solar PV. We are confident that the success of this project will be replicated at other utilities striving to maximize on renewable adoption within their service territories.” said Guillaume Dufosse, Varentec CEO. Outside of Hawaiian Electric, Varentec has deployed its solution at over 25 distribution utilities across North America.

Hawaiʻi’s largest electric utility is testing and deploying solutions to integrate new technologies that increase the grid’s capacity for intermittent renewable energy. “We work with entrepreneurs to get their technologies into the hands of the right partners,” says Dawn Lippert, CEO of Elemental Excelerator. “Varentec’s project with Hawaiian Electric is one example of how innovation continues to be critical to addressing some of the world’s most important challenges.” Elemental Excelerator is working closely with Hawaiian Electric to help source innovation, such as Varentec, that can accelerate Hawaiʻi toward its goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. In addition to Varentec, Elemental Excelerator and Hawaiian Electric are working together on nearly a dozen projects.

About Hawaiian Electric
Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries, Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light, serve the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i and Hawai‘i, home to 95 percent of the population of the State of Hawai‘i. Hawaiian Electric’s parent company is Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE). In a changing world, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are taking the lead in adding renewable energy and developing energy solutions for their customers to achieve a clean energy future for Hawai‘i. For more information, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com.

About Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator helps startups change the world, one community at a time. Each year, we find 12-15 companies that best fit our mission and fund each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, transportation, water, agriculture, and beyond. To date, we have awarded over $22 million to more than 60 companies. What makes us unique? We co-fund, co-design, and co-develop projects and strategies that improve infrastructure and sustainably enhance communities. Our program is funded by a diverse coalition of utility partners, corporate partners, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy, state government, and philanthropic organizations. For more information, please visit elementalexcelerator.com.

About Varentec

Varentec™ provides innovative solutions for the nascent era of distributed grid control. The Varentec ENGO® devices are deployed on the secondary side of the distribution grid to control voltage and reactive power in real time and eliminate grid edge voltage volatility, even when high numbers of distributed solar or wind systems are deployed on a circuit.

ENGO devices coupled with the GEMS software platform provide a complete, stand-alone solution to Distribution Utilities. In deployments across the U.S. and Canada, Varentec’s technology is consistently achieving unparalleled energy savings or peak demand reduction of 5% or more through voltage reduction while significantly reducing technical losses.

Varentec™, ENGO® and GEMS® are trademarks of Varentec Corporation.

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