PROJECT PROFILE: Concurrent Design, Inc. (Incubator 10)

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Project Title: The Energy Switch
Funding Opportunity: SunShot Technology to Market (Incubator 10)
SunShot Subprogram: Technology to Market
Location: Austin, TX
Amount Awarded: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $252,677
Project Investigator: Thomas Ortman

Concurrent Design Inc., an established, high-technology engineering and product development firm, is working with Pecan Street Inc. to develop a commercially-viable prototype of a new residential energy appliance that will reduce the cost and complexity of installing residential micro-grids that feature rooftop PV, energy storage, back-up generation, and a grid connection. This new appliance, called the Energy Switch, will enable homeowners to control whether the energy they produce is stored or put back onto the grid and whether they are connected or disconnect from the grid, as well as enable them to specify conditional de-activation of critical loads in response to grid outages or peak demand incentives from the utility. 

Approach

The project will produce a fully-functional and more highly-integrated prototype that demonstrates full commercial capability and serves as a reference design for a new category of residential energy products. By implementing the Open Architecture for Residential Microgrid Systems (OpenARMS), consumers can go off-grid and maximize self-sufficiency with regard to their energy supply and generation. Or, they can participate in a more robust distributed generation market, while utilities see demand curves flatten and have the ability to holistically manage distributed resources. Two demonstration systems will be constructed and installed in residences where all five OpenARMS modes will be tested and data will be collected.

Innovation

Installed as the “single point of permitting,” the Energy Switch equips a home for plug-and-play expansion of PV, storage, back-up generation, intelligent load control, and automated islanding. The Energy Switch eliminates redundant components, custom onsite design, and labor costs to simplify the installation of residential microgrids.  The Energy Switch will directly impact installed PV costs by reducing permitting costs and hardware costs.