January 16, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Some common questions answered below.

Do you sell and install batteries?

No we don't. However IG has strong relationships with most vendors of energy storage systems and can make recommendations for your application, and introduce them to you or your project developer.

What does it mean that IG is a SaaS company?

SaaS is an industry acronym that stands for Software-as-a-Service. IG provides the owners of storage systems with the service of operating, optimizing and monetizing their battery in conjunction with other energy resources for maximum economic benefit.

What are "distributed energy resources"?

Generally in the utility industry it describes energy resources (solar power, generators, batteries...) that are connected behind a retail utility meter. These resources often serve the local commercial or industrial load. In some cases they can inject excess production into the grid for a credit (eg. solar net-metering). With IG's software, behind-the-meter distributed resources can also be managed as contributors to a broader network to provide a paying wholesale service to the grid operator. Examples are frequency regulation and wholesale capacity.

IG provides effortless and managed access to revenues from wholesale electricity markets, which stacks more value for distributed resources.

How can you control solar power?

Except in some rare cases where its output needs to be throttled down, we don't. Solar power is generated when the sun shines and is directly absorbed by the load. When used in conjunction with energy storage, solar+battery systems can be used to address some shortcomings of solar generation; those can be of technical nature (ramp rate, voltage fluctuations) or planning nature (using the battery to "plug the clouds" can make solar predictable).

At a level of a networked Virtual Power Plant, optimization tools can use geographic spreads to make the output of aggregated solar+storage systems even more reliable.

I'm a solar developer. How can I simulate the benefits of adding storage to my projects?

IG sells its services through you, the Project Developer. You can start by requesting free access to our "OneClick" online tool, and of course you can always get in touch.

What is PJM? What is frequency regulation?

PJM is one of the US' 13 grid operators, and the world's largest by users. Its role is to ensure grid reliability and manage efficient wholesale markets for the economic exchange of power among its members: independent power producers, retail distribution utilities, transmission line owners... IG has been a voting member of PJM since 2011.

Frequency Regulation is a lucrative wholesale market which is ideal for batteries to participate in. Its purpose is to keep the grid stable at 60 Hz by quickly absorbing/supplying short power bursts (every second). Batteries are to the grid what shock absorbers are to your car on a bumpy road.

What is the difference between demand charges and capacity charges on my bill?

Both are power charges measured in kilowatts (kW), but that's where the comparison ends.

Demand charges generally represent your monthly peak power consumption (over a 15' or 30' interval), assessed during business hours. It is supposed to represent the size of the infrastructure required by the distribution utility to serve you and determines your rate class. Your monthly "kW demand" is multiplied by a "demand charge rate" (somewhere between $7 and $30 per kW) to obtain your monthly total demand charge. Reducing your demand charge implies reducing your maximum power demand. If your load profile peak is quite consistent and driven by air-conditioning, it may take many hours of load support for a marginal benefit. If your load profile shows real "peaks", then peak shaving can be a real and profitable value stream for a battery.

Capacity charges are not well understood, and yet a far more lucrative bill reduction opportunity when itemized. Capacity charges (a.k.a. Peak Load Contributions) represent your demand during the 5 hours of peak stress on the grid - but not necessarily your peak demand. IG excels at predicting periods of grid peak load and can concentrate resources and your flexible demand response to reduce metered load during those hours, hence the total capacity charge.