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CIO Review >> Magazine >> March - 2016 issue

igrenEnergi, Inc.- Maximizing Economic Benefits of Solar and Energy Storage through Technology Innovation


The writing on the wall as predicted by global experts like A T Kearney, E&Y and KPMG is that renewable energy and storage will play a critical role in solving global energy problems. Given this background now is a good time to be in solar – as rapidly improving economics drive a global solar boom. It is of course the best of times if you straddle both solar and storage; as Energy storage becomes increasingly critical for resolving issues of integrating renewables into the grid. igrenEnergi, Inc., with its unique and US patented ‘Energy Packetization Technology’ is well placed to ride this wave.

Based in California, with R&D centers located in Mumbai and Bangalore, igrenEnergi, is creating disruptive products to optimize energy generation, conversion, storage and smart grid interactions. “Our pioneering architecture involves ‘Packetization’ of incoming power; software defined ‘processing and scheduling’ of the same and finally, load specific ‘recombination of packets’ to deliver required output,” says Jiten Apte, CEO.

The company’s first product – the Solar Optimizer addresses long standing industry problems. All solar projects are subject to unavoidable and widespread ‘module mismatch’ as some modules become weak over time. Current inverter technology is unable to manage such mismatch leading to system wide propagation of losses from few weak modules – with estimated lifetime generation losses ranging from 15 percent to 20 percent or higher.

The Optimizer addresses this problem at its root by operating individual modules at their peak efficiency to extract the highest power from each. “Recent trials with leading energy companies have demonstrated a recovery of up to 80 percent of lost mismatch energy leading to average gains of 20 percent,” says Apte. The Optimizer is being prepared for commercial release in April ’16. Other products under trials which ride on the same technology platform include the breakthrough ‘Optiverter’, an Optimizing inverter which will further improve the returns on solar investments.
According to Gartner, the energy and utilities industry is under pressure to simultaneously reduce costs and improve operational performance. Front line players face a wide array of challenges including increased environmental scrutiny and sustainability issues. As a result, storage technology at a global level is evolving rapidly with companies like Tesla driving prices down with technology improvements and economies of scale. igrenEnergi’s architecture works with all existing storage technologies to provide further improvements in storage efficiency, cost and life time expansion.The company recently received additional funding from Sunil Mehta, an active NY area investor. With this renewed commitment, Sunil Mehta has reiterated his faith in the company and sector.

IgrenEnergi is building a family of products for efficient energy conversion and storage. With the Optimizer scheduled for commercial launch in early 2016, igrenEnergi is headed to initially release their products in India with the US/European markets to follow in quick succession. Product innovators like igrenEnergi are best poised to capture a disproportionate share of the value, as large new markets like India, with its 100 GW solar target, join existing leaders like US and Europe.