- How did Aderis get started?
Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association recently spoke with Adam Foodman, co-founder of our member Aderis Energy, to discuss how the company came to be and how their solutions help renewables developers save money in the energy transition.
Founders of Aderis Energy got their start a little more than a decade ago developing large solar projects. As solar energy gained traction and their portfolio of projects grew, they discovered the industry needed more efficient and cost-effective ways to monitor and maintain projects. As with any technology, issues arise with renewable generation that require attention to achieve financial success and reliability.
Solar projects are often located in rural areas and must be maintained from a distance. Without a method to remotely track operations and control facilities, time and resources are wasted when a problem emerges – like by guessing what is wrong and dispatching the wrong technician for the job. Aderis, named for Advanced Energy Resource Integration Solutions, arose out of this real world need to diagnose and address problems with distributed energy resources.
- What does Aderis do?
Our technologies save customers money by consolidating and streamlining the process between on-the-ground diagnostics, project surveillance, control, and issue management. We provide software and a unified platform that supports advanced renewable energy grid operations through data accumulation, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), operations and maintenance (O&M), asset management, battery control systems, power plant controllers, and more.
Aderis also provides smart equipment which are tailor-made for the renewable industry and its need for efficient operations. This tech-enabled hardware connects to a computer on-site, which reads the data and can provide control functions. Our advanced software connects all equipment at a facility, allows the devices to “communicate,” provides control, and compiles a portion of the information into a cloud product for operating aggregates of distributed energy resources (DERs).
While customers may purchase our technologies modularly, our offerings work best in tandem with our edge computers, cloud products, and control systems. Our competitors may offer on-site metering and data, but our addition of a battery-backed, on-site computer and software bolsters what a developer is able to learn and do from afar.
- What are Aderis’ most unique products?
We have quite a few offerings. Our software technology (see figure above), which has been in development for seven years, provides our market leading and unique capabilities in one package. The technology connects our equipment, performs O&M assessment, SCADA, battery monitoring and control, power plant controller, and asset management functions.
We also sell a variety of hardware, including our pad mounted, smart solutions for interconnection (see figure above) that standardize medium voltage work and commissioning, enable simple IEEE 1547 testing, and provide patented, market standard inrush mitigation to connect to weak grids.
We offer weather stations that provide on site monitoring and model projections for energy being produced, unlike other products with similar functionality.
Finally, Aderis provides specialized transformer protection management and control solutions that monitor, protect, and diagnose issues (see figure above). This solution ensures that transformers don’t have to go offline, or have a long term malfunction.
- Why should people care about these products? How do they benefit not just your customers, but the rate paying public?
Simply put, people should care because our products save them money and allow them to stay within their financial constraints while allowing their projects optimal functionality. The operation of the grid is still based on older technologies that were not originally designed to power electronics and semiconductors. The clean energy transition requires technology that works intelligently with the grid. Our products use durable, quality components that allow customers to manage their data, control their assets and accomplish their financial and operational reporting in one place.
The hardware sits at the site and controls and diagnoses issues on the ground. Data is reported every five minutes to an aggregated cloud platform where a customer can see what’s going on with all of their projects in real time. Aderis also provides ongoing, operational monitoring that can diagnose and manage a client’s project portfolio and dispatch assets.
The cost curve of equipment has flattened, and even risen in the past years. Financial loss and opportunity increasingly arises out of the ability to integrate and operate many facilities intelligently at scale. Our products provide the intelligence in a standardized package that can scale affordably and allow for efficiencies across business models.
Ratepayers should insist that these intelligent approaches be utilized with all new energy generation. Otherwise, the cost of the energy transition will be higher than necessary.
- Energy related or not, technologies have advanced dramatically – from landlines to cell phones to very low cost solar, wind, and energy storage. What are some of the next big energy technology breakthroughs?
Energy storage is critical for the use of intermittent resources. Various types of storage (other than lithium ion batteries) will rapidly enter the market. Other key technology breakthroughs are needed so all clean technologies – solar, batteries, electric vehicles, etc. – can participate either individually or collectively in energy and grid service markets.
Increasing areas of importance will include building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), distributed generation, microgrids, and artificial intelligence.
- What should policy makers and regulators be considering now for the best possible electricity outcomes in the future?
There are several issues that should be addressed to improve electricity outcomes. First, energy should be deregulated to improve market efficiencies and enable resources to freely compete with one another (as proposed in FERC 2222) and other reports on the effects of monopolies. Years ago, the regulatory compact allowed utilities to make investments for customers and earn a reasonable rate of return on those investments. Now, with the rise of DERs and third-party service providers, the regulatory compact no longer applies. For example, point to the libertarian Texas ERCOT market, where even in oil and gas country we’ve seen the largest renewable energy deployments in the US. Competition and free market systems provide goods and services better than any alternative and renewable resources win in free market environments.
Second, there must be a clear path to meet renewable energy demand from consumers, businesses, and government entities. This means creating multiple new pathways for DER offtake models, offering incentives for off-grid options, better opportunities for placing generation at load centers, and rethinking the structure and purpose of building out massive transmission upgrades.
Finally, the regulation of electricity should be removed from traditional Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulation with other utilities. Electricity regulation should be treated as a technology business where there is potential for every individual to be their own electrical supplier. Energy generation needs a specialized regulatory body that can address the accelerating opportunities arising out of the rapid change in technology.