GELI, making battery storage smarter for photovoltaics

As the idea and costs of battery storage for solar photovoltaics continues to come down, other prospects of battery storage systems are coming into focus, like the software that helps manage storage. That’s the focus of Growing Energy Labs Inc. (GELI), which is preparing to launch it’s beta operating system to manage the various components of the system to help it operate at maximum efficiency. The company will use apply communications power of the Internet to help stabilize distributed generation energy systems.

The startup has attracted a lot of interest, having entered into GE’s ecomagination Challenge, the Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge, and has graduated from the Cleantech Open Business Competition accelerator program.

The company is designing systems that are scaled for commercial or industrial applications in the U.S., according to GELI CEO Dr. Ryan Wartena. “We have found quite a few markets worldwide for residential scale systems,” he said. “We plan to focus on commercial scale systems [i.e., here in the US], so we’re talking about the 10 kilowatt to 50 kilowatt power range, all the way up to a megawatt. The EOS [i.e., Energy Operating System] is appropriate for all scales, from the home, to commercial industrial, all the way up to utility.”

The system is designed to provide power locally, even if the grid goes out. “The initial customers for battery storage systems are those who have a big need for power backup but also want to participate in additional services—such as communities that want to ensure power reliability and hospitals. By additional services, I'm talking about demand management, demand response and market participation,” Wartena said.

The company is focussed purely on energy storage software. “Our partners battery manufacturers will be providing the energy storage and the power conversion hardware as well as an embedded computer. All that GELI provides is the Energy Operating System software,” Wartena said.

The company also recently graduated from the Greenstart program, which helps startup businesses move forward to attracting venture capital (VC) funding. “GELI is raising a seed round right now from angels and VCs, and we've had some indications from VCs that they are interested in a series A round,” Wartena said. The company is hoping to raise $750,000 to further develop its software package.

Image courtesy of NREL