Demand management, the business of intelligently managing power use, especially during peak energy-use hours, can pay for itself in a matter of months. But now with some utilities offering incentives to commercial and industrial power users, demand management systems can give a return on investment almost immediately.
That’s the case with a $250,000 energy management system from Powerit Solutions, for which PG&E has given produce processor Guadalupe Cooling Company a grant. Powerit President Bob Zak told Earth2Tech that “using the California incentives that are demand response-based… [our] systems can be 100 percent paid for upon installation.”
The system is designed to allow Guadalupe control over its own energy use, notably to reduce its use at peak times as part of a demand response program run by PG&E. Powerit, founded in 2002 and based in Seattle, promises “month-to-month utility bill savings without an impact on load performance.”
With 400 employees and offices both stateside (in Seattle and Hartford, Conn.) and abroad (in Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden), Powerit is a privately held company that raised $7.1 million in June. The Series A round was led by @Ventures and co-sponsored by Expansion Capital Partners. Zak says Powerit has had excellent growth over the last year and expects “doubling growth in consecutive years” ahead.
Powerit’s press release stresses the size of the opportunity in industrial demand management, citing the 2005 EIA Annual Energy Review, which notes that “U.S. industry used 29 percent of U.S. electricity” that year. “The biggest barrier to industry actually participating in demand response events is that they don’t have the infrastructure in place that gives them risk management systems,” Zak explained.
Powerit offers turnkey solutions they can install in about 60 days. Leaving control of power management in the hands of the industrial owner is key, Zak explained. While Powerit does offer services to manage power for clients, the vast majority of customers want to keep their hands on the switches.
“What’s exciting is being able to help these industrial customers…. They are very volatile users of electricity and it was difficult for them to participate in these DR programs,” Zak said. He hopes that the installation with Guadalupe will serve as a high-profile example that industrial demand management is not only feasible but profitable.