US solar and DR associations merge to improve operations

US Solar Electric  Power Association joins with the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid to form a new organization to improve their operations in the electricity business.
US Solar Electric Power Association joins with the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid to form a new organization to improve their operations in the electricity business.

In North America, the US Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) this week joined with the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (ADS) to operate as one organisation.

The move follows an agreement reached by the boards of both associations earlier this year, that they could increase participation in the evolution of the electricity business by providing support to their members as a single organisation.

According to SEPA, the unification is part of its initiative to expand operations by shifting focus from utility integration, of only large scale and distributed solar, to a broader view including a suite of distributed energy resources.

SEPA is confident its engagement in the collaboration will expand its operations as distributed energy resources will cover technologies associated with solar, such as storage, advanced inverters, demand response and smart grid, reported PennEnergy.

The two organisations are planning to re-brand their partnership with a new name reflecting the organisation’s expanded mission.

According to Howard Smith, ADS chairman of the board, three members of the ADS board of directors will sit on the SEPA board whilst all other members of the ADS board will transition to a new SEPA advisory board on demand response and smart grid.

Julia Hamm, SEPA President, said the collaboration means ADS member companies will join a roster of more than 1,000 utilities, technology vendors, project developers, government agencies and other energy stakeholder organizations in the SEPA network.

Demand response in the US

The joining of SEPA and ADS as a single association follows addition of three new organizations to ADS’ members list in the Q2 of 2015.

Advanced analytics company for connected home devices Ecofactor, energy services management Tendril and energy services advisor Cadmus joined the non-profit organisation founded in 2004.

Commenting on the recruitment, Dan Delurey, CEO of ADS, applauded the coming in of the companies saying their experience and expertise will certainly help ADS grow its ability to serve the needs of the DR and smart grid community.

Ecofactor’s cloud-based application actively manages thermostats on occupants’ behalf and is being used by utilities, home service providers and homeowners for demand response, energy efficiency, and HVAC performance monitoring services.

Tendril has developed an open, cloud-based software platform, which provides the infrastructure, analytics and understanding required to deliver personalized energy services.

Cadmus aims to deliver cross-disciplinary services and solutions that help its clients achieve their goals while also creating social and economic value and is performing “cutting-edge evaluations on topics such as Wi-Fi enabled thermostats and behavioral DR pilots,” according to Mr Delurey.

Solar energy in the US

The partnership also comes at a time solar energy technology is  experiencing more advancements.

Earlier this month, US energy services company Itron said is preparing to launch the first product from its newly formed innovation unit, ‘Solar Gate’, which enables homeowners to monitor their rooftop solar performance in real-time.

The IoT solar monitor gathers information from a variety of sensors and wirelessly transmits it to the cloud where Itron’s software enables cloud to access and [analyse] the data, according to renewable energy news source Energybiz.

The company’s software then takes the data and allows users to monitor the performance of the whole system and individual components.

Commenting on the development of the product, Mr Aiello said Itron sought consultation from its customers and worked with them to develop Solar Gate and the software that allows the customers to view the information it produces.

Aiello added: “In less than a year we went from idea to product.”