Greensmith: segment-specific products in view

With new investment, Greensmith Energy Management Systems is set to develop sector-specific energy storage software packages and to expand internationally.
With new investment, Greensmith Energy Management Systems is set to develop sector-specific energy storage software packages and to expand internationally. Photo credit: Greensmith
With new investment, Greensmith Energy Management Systems is set to develop sector-specific energy storage software packages and to expand internationally.

With new investment, Greensmith Energy Management Systems is developing sector-specific energy storage software packages and expanding internationally. Photo: Greensmith

By Jason Deign

Greensmith, the storage control system developer, is setting its sights on the development of sector-specific software packages after releasing new aggregation functionality this month.

Long-term the company is hoping to have a portfolio of sector-specific software packages similar to those found in enterprise resource planning, according to John Jung, chief executive.

Jung also told Energy Storage Report that Greensmith was planning to expand beyond its US homeland next year, with partnerships planned for next year across Europe and Asia.

It is already working beyond US borders, in Australia and Canada. “In places like the UK and Germany I’d be very surprised if we are not doing a number of projects in 2016,” Jung said.

“I think Korea, Japan and China also are major targets for us in 2016. Our approach to penetration isn’t to set up shop independently but to really work with the local power value chain that is already set up and established.

“We definitely expect to establish some base camps in some of those key countries.”

Series C funding round

The expansion plans come hot on the heals of a USD$12.3m Series C funding round that ended at the beginning of the month with American Electric Power as lead investor.

The US utility put $5m into Greensmith, joining venture capital firms Cota Capital and TDF Ventures plus another, unnamed strategic backer, Greentech Media reported. The cash took Greensmith’s total funding to $20m.

The money will be “more than enough capital to do the things we want to do,” said Jung, particularly given that the upfront investment in a software platform was already complete. “We’re investing in growth, pure growth,” Jung stated.

The company, which came to prominence for having a hand in more than a third of grid-scale US energy storage deployments in 2014, has also been steadily adding to its core GEMS IV IT platform this year.

In March, for example, it unveiled two new applications, StorageModel and StorageView, giving storage project developers modelling and visualisation capabilities respectively.

And in July the firm launched a data-driven audit service called StorageCheck.

Functionality announced this month

The aggregation functionality announced this month is aimed at commercial and industrial asset holders and will allow Greensmith’s customers to treat discrete energy storage units as part of larger whole.

Jung noted that the functionality is not in itself new, but had not been released into the market previously. Companies such as LichtBlick in Germany currently offer similar capabilities.

With the Series C cash under its belt, Greensmith is now aiming to go “very deep” into developing GEMS even further, with the aim of helping to improve the return on investment (ROI) for storage.

The software already contains nine separate modules for energy storage applications such as ramp-rate control or black start capability.

Planned improvements to GEMS

As an example of some of the planned improvements to GEMS, said Jung: “we’re looking at doing ramp-rate control using less batteries so the ROI gets even easier.”

Furthermore, he said: “We are going to allow more segment specificity in the way the software package works.

“So if you’re an independent power producer or a utility or a microgrid operator or a building efficiency manager the screen and the experience you are going to have utilising our software technology is going to be unique to you.

“It’s going to be customisable, user-defined if you like. That is going to allow our customers to improve their ROI by analysing their use case, their load [or] the different characteristics of their energy consumption.”

Greensmith is just one of a number of companies that believe software holds the key to energy storage commercialisation.

Demand Energy Networks, for example, is also involved a major software development effort, according to chief technology officer Mike Fife.

“We absolutely believe that software and intelligent algorithms are required to unlock the true value of storage, and Demand Energy has created some very powerful innovations and intellectual property in this area,” he said.

“The critical issue is how to get the software to anticipate and respond to the dynamic nature of energy storage environments and applications, and we believe that we have cracked the code.”

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