Historically, general purpose control solutions were implemented using technology called ‘Programmable Logic Controllers’ or PLC’s which in the late 1960s replaced the electro-mechanical control solutions of the past. These solutions allow the control solution to be ‘developed’ by software experts using technologies such as ladder logic to develop applications in various industries, from energy industry applications to amusement parks. However, the complexity of the applications currently used for storage solutions requires a new generation of management solutions purpose built for energy storage.
These new solutions are:
- It is hardware agnostic so it avoids hardware vendor lock-in.
- Designed with a specific use case in mind, it simplifies the design, deployment, upgrade, and operation of these solutions.
- Enforce code reuse and best business practices to reduce new development costs.
- Facilitating future solution integration and expansion to support new use cases.
- Use the latest UI technology to enable users without a programming background to consider the functionality of the solutions.
These benefits are now expanding into the energy industry and purpose-built energy applications such as EV Charging, power generation and energy storage.
Today, the energy industry is undergoing a renaissance driven by new, cost-effective energy solutions. Just like the rise of the sun, the expansion of the energy storage industry began with the lowering of hardware costs as these industries benefited from economies of scale. However, as the business expands, the need for management solutions based on new purpose-built software is developing to reduce the soft costs built for commissioning and operation in these areas. This type of software evolution is a long-standing phenomenon in the software industry. In the past, companies built their own software systems such as computer operating systems, databases, and sales force management systems. However, as these applications grew, companies learned the benefits of outsourcing their application needs to software vendors in order to benefit their businesses.
In many ways storage is a prime candidate to benefit from purpose-built management software solutions. Unlike solar, storage solutions have many unique ways to deliver benefits to asset owners. These benefits, such as demand reduction, ancillary services and load shifting, are often stacked on top of each other to form complex control algorithms. The challenge grows even more when you add generation such as solar which requires hybrid management solutions to manage both storage and solar in an additional solution. Just as companies are used to building and maintaining their operating systems and databases for their business applications; Companies using PLC technology must also test new code developed specifically for each location. New goal management solutions reduce development costs, risk authorization and operational costs by using pre-tested solutions that are unique to a specific area. Additionally, updating old sites to take advantage of new technologies or ‘updates’ in software can be done in hours vs weeks.
Because of this new solution improvement, customers do not need to manage their assets Old technology solutions were built in the past but can better manage their future through new innovations that address today’s business problems.