OrcaGrid is a smart power system that allows buildings to generate and use, store or sell solar energy for optimal efficiency.
Approximately 28 per cent of the world’s CO₂ emissions come from energy used in buildings. Installing solar panels on the roofs of office buildings, homes, and industrial facilities can help to reduce these emissions.
However, the energy output of rooftop solar panels fluctuates with weather conditions and the time of day. Consequently, buildings may end up with surplus clean energy when production is high but be unable to use this energy when power consumption reaches its peak.
OrcaGrid is a smart, solar energy system for commercial and residential buildings and industrial facilities.
The OrcaGrid system consists of three elements: rooftop or building-integrated solar cells, high-capacity batteries, and autonomous energy regulation software.
As the solar cells generate power, the OrcaGrid system determines whether to use the energy in the building, sell it to the local grid or store it in batteries for later use or sale. It makes this decision based on weather forecasts, real-time power prices and an individualised energy profile for the building.
A bidirectional power converter instantaneously converts between AC and DC power, enabling seamless transmission of electricity between solar panels, batteries, the building’s power system, and the grid.
The system ensures that solar energy from rooftop panels is used when and where it is needed the most, regardless of fluctuations in solar power output.
The OrcaGrid system allows the customer to use whatever electricity source is cheapest at any given moment. This, combined with the system’s ability to automatically sell surplus energy back to the grid, significantly increases the return on investment for rooftop or building-integrated solar cells.
Moreover, the OrcaGrid system helps to balance the power grid, both by reducing energy consumption in buildings and by supplementing the grid with locally produced electricity at times of peak demand. This, in turn, reduces the need to expand and upgrade grids to meet demand, along with resulting emissions.
The market for solar cells is expected to maintain an annual growth rate of between 10 to 15 per cent for the foreseeable future, according to the IEA.
The first OrcaGrid pilot system went into operation in January 2020. Two additional OrcaGrid systems are under development in Norway, and the solution will be available for commercial use in early 2021.
The OrcaGrid system has been developed in partnership between TGN Energy and Isola Solar.