Distribution grids were fine, until …
- Distribution grids were traditionally designed for one-directional power flow without considering distributed energy production nor back-feeding into the grid.
- Since few years though the cost of technologies such as PV and battery storage is declining drastically, making it economically feasible for households, commercial and industrial customers to self-generate, store and feed-back electricity.
- Customers need to submit an official request to the grid operator if they wish to connect generation units to the grid and “sell” their extra electricity to the operator – we will call these units Distributed Energy Resources, or DERs.
… renewables came, “en masse”.
- The number of requests for new DERs is increasing fast, and the growth is projected to be even steepen in the future.
- This sharpens some challenges of grid operators: 1) lack of efficient communication with the customer, 2) capacity limits in the grid, 3) inefficient processes for connecting new DERs
Don’t worry, Adaptricity is here to help you!
- With a customer dashboard accessible directly from your website, by anyone. New connections can be pre-evaluated and submitted with ease by your end-customer.
- With a digital platform to: 1) close the gap between the DSO and the end customer, 2) exploit the existing capacity, 3) and to smoothen the connection evaluation process.
Challenges and solutions
Challenge 1: Lack of communication with the customers
This is partly due to the absence of clear and simple digital tools employed by grid operators where the information and messages can be exchanged with clients. Frustrating communication can damage your image as DSO.
- Solution: Intuitive, easy-to-use online dashboard for connection requests. If you can make a leap forward and equip your customers with intuitive tools that they can solve the problems with, you are winning. This is the case of .Connect.
- Value: Increase customer satisfaction and empowerment. Happier and more invested customers are the key to drive innovation and change. Satisfaction and empowerment are key because they drive the endorsement of your clients.
Challenge 2: Capacity limits in the grid
There might be grid areas close to the capacity limits. If clients want to connect substantial power in such areas, you could need large grid upgrades soon. Adaptricity.Connect helps the customers to adjust the power and position the installation to reach a “green light” pre-assessment. In this way, the existing capacity can be maximized. Meanwhile, you can plan with Adaptricity.Plan how to improve the capacity of key areas where you see the number of requests rising.
- Solution: Show a connection’s pre-assessment to the customer using an intuitive online tool. You can share information with the clients such as the voltage level they are connecting to, the distance to the closest connection point, a pre-result of the request (green, orange, or red light).
- Value: maximize the use of the existing capacity since the customers can tune the location and power of their connection to reach a “green light”.
Challenge 3: Inefficient processes for connecting new DERs
When clients submit a request, you have to perform power flow and short circuit calculations to ensure that the grid stress is acceptable compared to its limits e.g. in terms of voltage dip and rise, line loading, transformer loading, etc.
- Solution: Introduce efficient and fully digitalized processes (both customer-facing and internal). By using .Connect and .Plan at the same time, the processes of collecting and evaluating new connections is made fully digital and integrated. The request file automatically appears on .Plan once submitted on .Connect, and the response to the clients is sent automatically when the planning and connection team has finished the analysis.
- Value: Reduce operational costs (OPEX) while increasing renewables. By making processes more efficient, the time and costs required for the single connection are decreased. At the same time, feasible DER connections (with green light) usually increase thanks to .Connect, improving the share of distributed renewables in the grid.
Adaptricity.Connect is unique
There are two characteristics that make .Connect unique:
Intuitive: the usability of the dashboard is smooth. The Adaptricity technology has a strong focus on being easy-to-understand, visual, instinctive, colorful, and interactive. Try it yourself with one of our live .Connect customers!
Integrated: all your company’s data systems are integrated with the dashboard. 1) The hosting capacity from the network calculation tools is mapped in .Connect using APIs. 2) The geographical location of the nodes is integrated into .Connect from the GIS. 3) the request can be sent form .Connect also to other administrative platforms such as the ERP. 4) almost any other system can be integrated. 5) we also implement your corporate design in .Connect.
Adaptricity is an award-winning spin-off of the ETH Zurich, founded in 2014, which develops software for the decarbonization of distribution grids. With its 25-member strong A-team, Adaptricity gained several high-profile customers in the DACH region and conducted a successful international expansion in Asia, Australia, Southern, and Eastern Europe. Adaptricity is the winner of the prestigious Watt d’Or award in 2021 in the category Energy Technologies. Today we are proud to nourish more than 80 customer relationships with cutting-edge technology and top service. Many DSOs fully rely on the Adaptricity platform for the analysis, planning, and optimization of distribution grids.