Energy is a hot topic today for many reasons. America has been looking to move towards more sustainable energy alternatives as a way to ween the nation off of foreign-produced oil and other fossil fuels. Simultaneously, global climate change and the green movement have driven many companies and individuals to look for more environmentally-friendly sources of energy – such as wind and solar – to provide the power necessary for daily life and operation.
This move to alternative energies, the desire to “go green” and an additional factor – a movement to modernize power grids and infrastructure – has created many opportunities for companies that provide innovative new technologies and solutions to energy companies.
One of the companies that will be participating in the Technology Showcase at this year’s Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference – Greensmith – has seen explosive growth due to these, and other factors.
Greensmith is a company based in Herndon, VA., that designs and implements energy storage systems that are optimized utilizing their innovative GEMS IV software solutions.
To learn more about Greensmith, its solutions and the trends driving the company’s incredible growth, we sat down with Greensmith CFO, Jim Murphy. During our discussion, we covered the emergence of the energy storage market in the National Capital region, the reasons why the company is performing so exceptionally, and the company’s recent successful round of fundraising.
Here is what Jim had to say:
CGCS: Can you tell our readers about Greensmith’s GEMS IV intelligent energy storage and analytics software solution? What does this solution enable utility and energy companies to do? Why is this essential to these organizations today?
Mr. Murphy: Greensmith Energy designs and deploys the world’s most advanced energy storage systems. From grid-scale to behind-the-meter and microgrid solutions, the Greensmith GEMS software platform enables effective and efficient delivery of stable power with unsurpassed performance and profitability.
The traditional approach for managing storage assets is to deploy a plant controller that interacts with the batteries and a power control system (PCS) layered on top of the battery management system (BMS). Greensmith utilizes a software-based plant controller (GEMS) that interacts directly with the battery, the PCS, and the BMS. Benefits include:
- Battery Optimization – GEMS is tightly integrated with the BMS to leverage Greensmith’s battery optimization algorithms-extending the life of the system
- Revenue-Stacking – Generate multiple revenue streams by stacking applications, dynamically adjust based on market conditions and adapt to regulatory changes
- Future-Proofing – Leveraging software-based intelligence, enabling modifications as applications and conditions evolve
- Fleet Management – Integrate multiple battery assets into a consolidated management tool. With seamless integration into Distribution Management Systems—battery storage becomes another distribution asset, in addition to renewables
As a truly technology-agnostic energy storage partner, Greensmith provides unbiased industry expertise. With this comes flexibility to choose the appropriate hardware for each energy storage application. GEMS enables utilities, EPCs, and IPPs to remotely monitor individual systems or entire fleets, identifying and diagnosing equipment issues in real time, and extending system lifetime—increasing return on investment.
With robust, best-in-class capabilities, the GEMS software platform helps customers leverage various applications to create revenue streams and mitigate grid issues.
CGCS: What trends in the energy marketplace are driving interest and demand for your product and energy storage in general? Is the increased movement towards more intermittent – but environmentally-friendly – forms of energy (such as wind and solar) playing a factor?
Mr. Murphy: There are many factors contributing to the growth of the energy storage market:
- Regulatory frameworks and support across markets and geographies
- High penetration of renewables, leading to grid instability/congestion
- Changes in wholesale energy markets
- Component cost reduction
- Strategic regard for energy storage as part of broader grid trend
- Economies of scale and increasing longevity of deployment use-case
The energy storage market in the U.S. alone is projected to surpass one gigawatt in the next four years. We are beyond the pilot phase for energy storage—it is a proven, bankable solution with multiple value streams.
CGCS: At the end of 2015, Greensmith announced the impressive completion of a $18.3 Million Series C Growth Round from the European utility, E.ON. What was Greensmith looking for in an investor and what made E.ON the correct fit? How will this investment help the company in the short and long term?
Mr. Murphy: As part of the fundraising we targeted E.ON as a very strategic potential investor and partner for the Company. E.ON is one of the largest renewable energy producers in the world and more specifically Europe.
With E.ON’s investment we now have a great partner to anchor our European expansion. We believe this relationship will help us grow our business significantly in Europe, both in the short-term and long-term.
CGCS: Greensmith was also named one of Deloitte’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in 2015 thanks in large part to its 3209 percent growth. What do you attribute this amazing growth to?
Mr. Murphy: Greensmith was excited to be named the 37th fastest growing Company on Deloitte’s Fast 500, and 137th fastest growing company on Inc. magazines Inc. 5000 ranking for 2015.
The Company’s growth has been driven by our credibility in the marketplace in delivering over 45 Energy Storage Systems and our trusted relationships with some of the largest Energy Company’s in the world, which has, and continues to fuel our growth.
CGCS: When people think about the markets and industries that are most widely represented in the National Capital region, they tend to think of cybersecurity, government contracting and other industries that sell and service the federal government – not necessarily companies in the energy and utility space. Why was Herndon chosen as the home for Greensmith, and what benefits attracted Greensmith to the National Capital region?
Mr. Murphy: The Company was founded in Maryland and until recently had its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland with a Software Development office in Reston, VA. The Company decided to consolidate these two offices into its new corporate headquarters in Herndon, VA. We chose Herndon, based on its proximity to Northern Virginia and particularly the Loudon County workforce and its proximity to Dulles airport.
You raise an interesting question about why here in the National Capital region. We do believe that the Government and particularly the military will be large customers of Energy Storage in the near future and being located here in the National Capital region will put us in a good position to capture some of that business. This region also provides us access to a very educated and skilled workforce which is important as we grow our business.
It is also interesting that two of the largest Company’s in the Energy Storage space – Greensmith and AES – are both based in the region. I would estimate that over the past 2 years, Greensmith and AES collectively, have delivered over half of the energy storage solutions in North America.
CGCS: You’re slated to present Greensmith and its technologies as part of the Technology Showcase at this year’s Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference. Why are you participating at this year’s event, and what can attendees anticipate from your presentation?
Mr. Murphy: I am participating in the Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference to introduce the ACG community to Greensmith and the Energy Storage space in general. I hope that after my presentation the audience will be more informed about the importance and significant growth expectations for the Energy Storage sector, as well as how Greensmith will play a leadership role in that growth.